Bush change could allow doctors to reject gay patients

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New regs by feds could be very dangerous

The Bush administration issued a “right of conscience” regulation in December that could enable health care workers to deny treatment to gay patients based on religious beliefs, according to activists. The rule allows the federal government to withhold funds from health care facilities if they do not permit workers to opt out of performing medical procedures they find objectionable based on religious or moral grounds.

The 127-page regulation, which is estimated to cost $44 million to implement, is primarily aimed at allowing health workers to opt out of performing abortions, but Lara Schwartz, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said the rule could enable health care providers to decline to provide services for gay people—even for treatment of a common cold.