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Conscience in Healthcare

Some antiabortion GOP leaders in Congress, reading a mandate from the Nov. 2 election, have given healthcare workers the freedom to opt out of abortion-related work if their conscience or religious belief is against it.

They added a measure to a spending bill, passed on Saturday, that would prevent the government from withholding funds from healthcare providers who refuse to participate in abortion activities - from the operation itself to abortion referrals. A federal law already protects medical professionals who refuse to take abortion training.

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Critics claim this measure would reduce abortion services and information about the procedure. But they also see this GOP move as one more tactic by antiabortion activists to steadily erode the 1973 Supreme Court decision that protected abortion in the first two terms of a pregnancy as a right of privacy.

If the issue is simply not having enough abortion workers, that's solvable. Meanwhile, the right to choose abortion cannot be translated into government compelling someone to support it.