Glenn Beck falsely claimed that President Obama wants to rescind a Bush-era regulation so that "doctors can't refuse to" perform abortions. In fact, even without the regulation -- which was approved in December 2008 -- federal law prohibits public officials from requiring recipients of public funds to perform abortions.
Repeatedly makes false claims
Beck falsely claims Obama's plan to rescind Bush policy would "force doctors" to perform abortions
Beck: If Obama recinds the Bush policy, "doctors can't refuse to do procedures that they believe is murder [sic]." On the August 17 edition of his Fox News show, Beck misrepresented the Obama administration's reported intention to "rescind a Bush-era regulation" to falsely assert that the administration "would like to force doctors who believe abortion is the equivalent -- the equivalence of murder" to perform abortions. He further added that according to Obama, "it's totally cool to go forward with a mosque run by a potentially radical nutjob, and it's not -- doctors can't refuse to do procedures that they believe is murder [sic]."
Beck ridicules Obama administration contention that the regulation "could limit family-planning counseling and even ... blood transfusions." During the same segment, after quoting an anonymous Health and Human Services official telling The Washington Postthat the Bush regulation was "worded so vaguely that some have argued it could limit family-planning counseling" -- which Beck said was a reference to abortion -- "and even potentially blood transfusions and end-of-life-care," Beck offered to "translate bullcrap to English," adding: "End-of-life care? Nite-nite, Grammy. Pulling the old plug."
Federal law prohibits requiring recipients of public funds to performs abortions or sterilizations
Obama administration called for repeal of December 2008 Bush administration. On February 27, 2009, CNN.com reported that "The Obama administration plans to reverse a regulation from late in the Bush administration allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections, an official said Friday." The regulation in question had been issued December 19, 2008, effective January 20, 2009 -- the day of President Obama's inauguration.
Rescinding Bush regulation will not "force" doctors to perform abortions, as they're already protected by federal law. Federal law, which the Obama administration cannot repeal, prohibits public officials from requiring recipients of public funds to perform abortions or sterilizations in violation of their religious or moral beliefs. Similarly, federal law prohibits entities receiving public funds from discriminating against personnel who refuse to perform those procedures for those reasons. From Title 42, § 300a-7 of the U.S. Code:
(b) Prohibition of public officials and public authorities from imposition of certain requirements contrary to religious beliefs or moral convictionsThe receipt of any grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.], the Community Mental Health Centers Act [42 U.S.C. 2689 et seq.], or the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act [42 U.S.C. 6000 et seq.] by any individual or entity does not authorize any court or any public official or other public authority to require --(1) such individual to perform or assist in the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if his performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions; or(2) such entity to --(A) make its facilities available for the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if the performance of such procedure or abortion in such facilities is prohibited by the entity on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions, or(B) provide any personnel for the performance or assistance in the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if the performance or assistance in the performance of such procedures or abortion by such personnel would be contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such personnel.(c) Discrimination prohibition(1) No entity which receives a grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.], the Community Mental Health Centers Act [42 U.S.C. 2689 et seq.], or the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act [42 U.S.C. 6000 et seq.] after June 18, 1973, may --(A) discriminate in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of any physician or other health care personnel, or(B) discriminate in the extension of staff or other privileges to any physician or other health care personnel,because he performed or assisted in the performance of a lawful sterilization procedure or abortion, because he refused to perform or assist in the performance of such a procedure or abortion on the grounds that his performance or assistance in the performance of the procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions, or because of his religious beliefs or moral convictions respecting sterilization procedures or abortions.
Opponents and supporters reportedly agreed the Bush regulation could allow doctors to refuse other services
Scientific American: "[P]roponents and critics of the new rule agree" it could "allow workers to also block access to other medical treatments." A February 27, 2009, Scientific American blog post on the Bush regulation reported:
Federal law bars discriminating against healthcare workers who refuse to provide abortions or abortion referrals to patients, but the Bush reg change requires federally funded facilities to certify that they're complying with it -- and both proponents and critics of the new rule agree that the way it's worded could be broadly interpreted to allow workers to also block access to other medical treatments, such as contraception and artificial insemination.
NPR: [O]pponents say the regulation" could allow workers to refuse "blood transfusions and end-of-life care." Similarly, a February 27, 2009, NPR.org article reported:
[O]pponents say the regulation was written so broadly that it could allow workers to decline to participate in many other types of sensitive medical procedures -- from blood transfusions to end-of-life care.And in parts of the country with few medical providers, those refusals could put patients at risk, those critics contend."That rule was so broad that even the cashier at Walgreens could refuse to provide medication for somebody if the cashier decided they have a religious objection," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).
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