White House Revises Conscience Clause Rule

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As the House voted to block federal aid to Planned Parenthood Friday, the Obama administration maintained protections for health workers who have a religious or moral objection to performing abortions.

Still, only part of the Conscience rule, issued by former President George W. Bush, will remain.

Click here to watch David Christensen, senior political advisor for the Family Research Council, as he discussed the impact the new changes will have on health care workers.

Health care workers will still be able to file complaints with the federal government if they've been forced to perform a procedure against their conscience.

But the Obama administration said other parts of the rule were "confusing" and "overly broad."

Click play for more on the Conscience Clause changes with Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, following Jennifer Wishon's report.

Provisions of the rule that may have allowed workers to opt-out of a wide range of services were removed. The Department of Health and Human services said the change was made to provide "a clear enforcement process" of the Conscience Clause.

"The administration strongly supports provider conscience laws that protect and support the rights of health care providers, and also recognizes and supports the rights of patients," Department of Health and Human Services officials said in a statement. "Strong conscience laws make it clear that health care providers cannot be compelled to perform or assist in an abortion.

A White House official told CBN News he believes the changes clarify the rules and improve enforcement of conscience protections.

He said that addresses some of the suggestions offered by the public during the comment period.

The department received more than 300,000 comments on the rule change. Nearly 187,000 of them were opposed to any changes in the Bush-era rule.

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Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.