HHS: Doctors can refuse to provide abortions

The Bush administration is proposing stronger job protections for doctors who refuse to perform abortions because of religious or moral objections.

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Thursday that doctors should not face retaliation from employers or medical societies because they object to abortion. Leavitt says "freedom of conscience is not to be surrendered upon issuance of a medical degree."

The rule, which applies to institutions receiving government money, is likely to be challenged by abortion rights supporters.

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