Several media are reporting that today's the last day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will hear arguments against President Obama's intention to rescind the "conscience clause" regulation that former President Bush put into place weeks before leaving office. The clause aims to protect the rights of health-care workers to refuse to provide care they find morally objectionable - especially abortion and the morning-after pill. It also stops federal funding to medical facilities that do not accommodate their workers' convictions.

Among those speaking up are evangelicals who belong to Obama's own faith advisory group: Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Church in Florida, Melissa Rogers, director of Wake Forest Divinity School's Center for Religion and Public Affairs, and Jim Wallis of Sojourners. According to Michelle Boorstein over at The Washington Post's God in Government blog, these three were part of a group who signed a document calling for the Obama administration to "reaffirm its commitment to decades-old federal laws meant to offer some ?conscience' protections," and to indicate what Obama plans to replace the clause with, if anything. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic law professor Doug Kmiec also signed the document.

The Christian Medical Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are among those also urging Obama to rethink his intent to repeal the conscience clause. According to Julia Duin of The Washington Times, David Stevens, president of the 15,000-member, pro-life Christian Medical Association, warned yesterday in a Washington news conference: "In some states, pharmacists must dispense certain medications or lose their licenses …. Students are denied admission to medical schools or residency programs because they are not in favor of abortion. Doctors and nurses are losing their job or a promotion because of their beliefs."

Stevens also warned of the many Catholic-affiliated hospitals in the U.S. that may close their facilities all together rather than follow government regulations on abortion and contraception. He noted that 23 percent of his association's members already report facing discrimination because of their beliefs.

For more advocacy information, visit the Be Heard Project or Freedom2Care, or e-mail the Department of Health and Human Services at Today is the last day to write.
And stay tuned to Her.meneutics today for an interview with Melissa Rogers!