The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule in August that values a religious doctor’s choice to refuse provision of services over a woman’s right to receive care. The proposed rule would protect the jobs of doctors who, on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions, refuse to provide abortion or sterilization services. In fact, those doctors are excused not only from performing certain procedures, but also from providing referrals or counseling.

In other words, HHS wants to give doctors the right, on the basis of their religious beliefs, to withhold information about medical care from women seeking services. A woman may not know why she is being refused information, and she may have no other access to information. She may leave an appointment having learned nothing from a doctor who recently has been given the right to say nothing.

Since when is HHS in the business denying us information about our health?

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that HHS will attempt to make this rule final within days. We hope that President Obama will rescind this rule and protect our access to medical information from our doctors about our health and our bodies. The right to refuse information because of moral beliefs should not trump the right to receive information because of medical need.

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