President Barack Obama speaks about his fiscal 2010 federal budget, Thursday, Feb, 26, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
( - The Obama administration announced Friday that it is “reviewing” the conscience clause that was implemented in the last months of the Bush administration – the first step toward rescinding the rule altogether.

The Health and Human Services regulation reinforces the right of health care workers to refuse to provide abortion and contraception if it violates their conscience or moral precepts.

The new administration’s move came at the request of several groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which last fall called on Obama to rescind the regulation when he took office. The ACOG did not speak to before press time.

But at the time the rule was announced, the organization said: “This HHS regulation places patients' rights directly behind the rights of ideologically driven physicians and anyone else directly or indirectly involved in their health care.”