Obama Dictates Visitation Policy
Special Report - April 21, 2010
Citing North Carolina policy as an example, President Obama has ordered the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to expand patient visitation rights at most of the nation’s hospitals beyond immediate family membersincluding to gay, lesbian, and trangendered partners. In a White House memorandum issued April 15, the president directed the DHHS to “initiate” rulemaking procedures “to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.” The memo specified that, “participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.” The president also ordered DHHS to make recommendations within 180 days from the date of the memo, regarding specific steps the agency “can take to address hospital visitation, medical decision-making, or other health care issues that affect LGBT patients and their families.” The memo also directs DHHS to make sure that hospitals respect “all patients' advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies… and that patients' representatives otherwise have the right to make informed decisions regarding patients' care.”
In the memo, the president referred to North Carolina as an example of a state with expanded hospital visitation policies, noting that “North Carolina recently amended its Patients' Bill of Rights to give each patient ‘the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient's immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient’a right that applies in every hospital in the State.” Although pro-homosexual activists claimed credit for the change in the North Carolina law, the language in the policy does not mention gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
"The government should not be dictating policy to most private institutions, and the attempt by President Obama to change hospital visitation policy nationwide, by using the power of the executive branch is wrong," said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "Action in North Carolina took away the principal argument touted by pro-homosexual activists for years, that they did not have hospital visitation rights and therefore need the right to be married. That is no longer the case in North Carolina."
“It is of great concern, however, that we remain the only state in the South without a Marriage Protection Amendment to protect the definition of marriage in our state from being redefined by the courts or by politicians,” added Brooks. "Now, more than ever, North Carolina needs to join the 30 other states in the nation that have preserved the definition of marriage through their state constitutions. Lawmakers will get another chance this May to consider the Marriage Protection Amendment legislation, and we urge the leadership of the General Assembly to allow a vote on it this year.”
Copyright © 2010. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.