Worst Bush Moments: #16, The Conscience Exception Rule

We forget, because it happened in the pre-9/11 world, but one of George W. Bush’s earliest controversies was his decision to block federal funding of stem cell research in all but a few cases. It was a bouquet to the fundies, disguised as “serious compromise.” And there were plenty of people who bought it at the time.

Bush is going out of office as he went in — by using his office to push the fundamentalist agenda while simultaneously claiming to be on the high road. In the waning weeks of his term, Bush added the Conscience Exception Rule for health care, that — well, let’s let Emily Douglas explain:

The Department of Health and Human Services today published a new regulation broadening protections for health care providers who refuse to provide health care services based on religious or moral grounds. The new regulations, which have been widely denounced by women’s health groups, physicians’ groups, members of Congress, President-Elect Obama, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and by over 200,000 individual commenters filing opposition to the regulations, expand the definition of health care providers protected by provider conscience regulation and allow dissenting providers to refuse to refer patients for treatment in addition to refusing treatment itself.

For a more direct explanation, here’s Amanda Marcotte:

Surprising absolutely no one, the Bush administration told the vast majority of the population that uses or has used contraception that we can fuck off, and that we are dirty whores who deserve a dressing down from perfect strangers that are supposedly hired to provide service. In fact, the administration responded to complaints from over 200,000 letter writers by tossing two fingers, by keeping the proposed regulations and adding contractors to the list of people who can obstruct you if you want contraception, sterilization, or abortion.

Yes, the Bush Administration said that they’d allow health care providers to decide if their consciences prevented them for providing treatment for someone making a decision they disagree with, like, say, exercising your Constitutional right to use birth control.

This, of course, has me now pursuing my pharmacy degree, so that I can follow the following plan:

1. Get a pharmacy degree.
2. Become a pharmacist.
3. Convert to Christian Scientist.
4. Declare that I can’t in good faith fill any prescription, and that I should be paid to sit in the corner and shake my head sadly whenever anyone purchases medication.

I think it’s air-tight!

Fortunately, this should be drop-kicked back to the netherworld by the Obama Administration (and if it isn’t, Obama supporters should booze up and riot). But still, it’s a nice parting gift to the women of America to tell them that should they be raped at age 16, their doctor can refuse to write them a prescription for Plan B because everyone knows only sluts use Plan B.

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