It appears that the Bush Administration is wrapping up a "right of conscience" law that would allow medical professionals to refuse participation in any treatment they might find morally objectionable, including but not limited to abortion.
Of course, this regulation would permit pharmacists to refuse to sell birth control.
And this regulation, which will be enacted 30 days after it's published, can not be immediately repealed by the incoming president.
It may not end there, however.
The Supreme Court refused to hear a case a year ago on whether or not religious-affiliated employers would have to provide for birth control as part of their medical coverage to their female employees. The employers wanted such a reversal of statewide law that exists in most states. With Bush's regulation, those employers would potentially be able to avoid the state law.
Depressing, indeed, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, the incoming Obama Administration will be reversing this as soon as possible.
Advocates on both sides of the issue have interpreted the rule as also protecting workers who refuse to participate in providing birth control or other care they don't support. The rule could be blocked by Congress, or Health and Human Services could begin the laborious process of issuing a new regulation reversing course. Officials close to the transition have signaled that they intend to begin the regulatory process anew.