Secretary Leavitt returned to his blog today to respond to some incredible statements that he saw in CQ and which Tony also addresses in today's Update. I won't reprint the whole thing here (for that you need to go to his blog here.) However I did want to point out an important point Secretary Leavitt makes:

(A)ccording to Ms. Gallagher's ideology, if a person goes to medical school they lose their right of conscience. Freedom of expression and action is surrendered with the issuance of a medical degree.

There is something I'd like to point out to Ms Gallagher and the people she represents. It is currently a violation of three separate federal laws to compel medical practitioners to perform a procedure that violates their conscience.

Obviously, some disagree with the federal law and would have it otherwise, so they have begun using the accreditation standards of physician professional organizations to define the exercise of conscience unprofessional and thereby make doctors choose between their capacity to practice in good standing and their right of conscience. In my view, that is simply unfair and a clear effort to subvert the law in favor of their ideology.

This is not a discussion about the rights of a woman to get an abortion. The courts have long ago identified that right and continue to define its limits. This regulation would not be aimed at changing or redefining any of that. This is about the right of a doctor to not participate if he or she chooses for reasons they consider a matter of conscience. Does the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association believe we can protect by Constitution, statute and practice rights of free speech, race, religion, and abortion--but not conscience?

Please submit comments to the Secretary here.