Hayashi acts to counter Bush’s ‘conscience rule’

Reacting to a new regulation issued last month by the departing Bush Administration to give new protections to health workers refusing to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring California woman have all the information and access they need to make reproductive choices including abortion.

“California licenses healthcare practitioners to ensure patient safety,” said Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. “The personal views of providers should not interfere with the reproductive rights of women and families.”

The Bush Administration’s regulation, which takes effect Monday, lets healthcare providers not only refuse to assist in abortion related activities, but may also withhold information and access to birth control and other family planning services. Hayashi’s AB 120, introduced Thursday, would require California doctors, nurses, and physician assistants to fully disclose all reproductive options to a patient and declares legislative intent that a healthcare licensee may not withhold services or information from a patient; failure to do so would be professional misconduct punishable by discipline from the appropriate state licensing board.

UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M. FRIDAY: I forgot to mention that California Attorney General Jerry Brown joined several other states’ attorneys general in filing a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt regarding this regulation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • BGR

    Here we go down the slippery slope. Next up:

    – decertify doctors who won’t perform abortions or assisted suicide
    – refuse to license adoption agencies that decline to place children in GLBT homes
    – decertify public school teachers that refuse to teach Gay marriage as normal
    – decertify dangerous thoughts by homeschooling parents
    – harass congregations that don’t kneel to the the new secular catechism, similar to looking the other way at violence against No on 8 supporters.
    – refuse to relicense private Christian, Hebrew day schools or Day Care
    – refuse funding to partially state funded hospitals and other mercy institution
    – defund social service agencies that don’t play along

    Hayashi’s law must be challenged immediately, in court, as it violates both clauses of the 1st amendment as it attempts establishment of (ir)religion and violates the Make No Law clause against free exercise.

  • Theo

    I’m glad to hear about the lawsuit and Hayashi’s attempt to block this attempt by the Bush administration to allow health care providers to force their own beliefs on their customers; if someone knows that doing their job will conflict with their personal beliefs, then they should be looking for a new line of work

    and BGR, how about racists-do you want racists refusing to assist someone because of their color

    and are you in favor of allowing pharmacists to not fill prescriptions for say HIV medicines because they think that AIDS is God’s punishment and to assist those living with HIV is a sin?

  • TV News Guy

    Theo, your example is off point. Except for the state monopoly in K-12 education people have a choice to choose whatever service provider adoption, day care, hospitals, reproductive care, drug cessation. Most of the cases I site above are already in play across the many states because someone from ACLU chose to pick on certain providers just to sue them instead of choosing a bonafide provider of their choice.

    Bigoted irreligion that you suggest has no business making laws that restrict freedom of religion on either side of the equation, so that people can seek out the choice and not be told what to do by an overreaching government run by secular THEOology.

  • anymouse

    The pharmacy example is silly. As long as a retailer treats all customers the same without discrimination is the only thing we need to be concerned with here. All the pharmacist need do is not stock the questionable items.

    Then people are free to go whatever pharmacy they want to find the product or service they are looking for whether it is poison to kill your elderly grandfather or a morning after pill. Why put the onus on one pharmacist that believes assisted suicide and 1.3 million abortions a year is murder.

    What are you going to do, force the pharmacist to provide reproductive advice?

    Please. Typcical totalitarian statist over reach.

  • Theo

    health care providers should provide health care advice to their customers and patients; if they’re not willing to do that, they should find another field where their beliefs don’t interfere with their jobs

    how many pharmacists go into their field not knowing that they’ll be asked to fill prescriptions for birth control?

    how many women in this country use birth control? my sister is on the pill not for contraception but to help regulate her period; would it be okay for a pharmacist to deny her the medicine or is that okay?

    anyway, its a moot point; Congress will overturn this law and hopefully, a Court will issue an injunction against the rule not allowing it to go into effect

    moral beliefs had no place in certain professions; would you want a cop who doesn’t believe that it’s moral to kill someone no matter what? I certainly wouldn’t want a science teacher who believes that the earth was created in six days teaching my kids

  • BGR

    Hi Theo. Some good points, thanks.

    Where in the constitution does it say the government has the right to tell a business owner to sell a certain line of product? Maybe the car czar will get away with it, but not for long.

    Your sister can go to hundreds of clinics to get free pills.

    You’ve described the attitude of probably a majority of uniformed officers in the U.S. But they all do their sworn duty.

    I would not want my child being taught six-day creationism or intelligent design either. Not only is it wrong it’s unbelief in the grip of scientism.

    But it’s not for me or you, or the government to tell any parent where to educate their children. That responsibility is in the first instance parental not statist.

    You make a far-reaching claim that some professions should not allow moral beliefs.

    You mean like lawyers?

    Seriously, attempts to compartmentalize life as if facts or science or social policy are by themselves religiously neutral is patently false, harmful, and makes for failed social policies. How do teachers or parents educate children about what the “good life” is without talking about the most deeply held beliefs that no one can prove. Same for abortion clinics, lawyers, astrophysicists, and politicians.

    To assume the government has some innate power to dictate what will be considered an acceptable worldview over another needs to be re-evaluated. For down that road lies true bigotry and discrimination.

    I grant you this happens on both sides of the liberal ideological spectrum from left and right. Each side thinks they should own 100%.

    What we need instead is true pluralism that recognizes diversity of religious thought in our communities, and pluralism that understands societal structures have their own responsibility and are not just creatures of the state. Representation should also be pluralistic via some form of preference voting and proportional representation.