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Federal provider conscience regulation: unconscionable
  1. R Card
  1. Dr R Card, SUNY/University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 676, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; robert_card{at}


This paper argues that the provider conscience regulation recently put into place in the USA is misguided. The rule is too broad in the scope of protection it affords, and its conception of what constitutes assistance in the performance of an objectionable procedure reveals that it is unworkable in practice. Furthermore, the regulation wrongly treats refusal of other reproductive services as on a par with conscientious objection to participation in abortion. Finally, the rule allows providers to refuse even to discuss “objectionable” options with patients and serves to protect discriminatory refusals of medical care. For all of these reasons, this regulation is unwise.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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