The administration of US President Barack Obama moved to rescind a rule that would allow health care workers to deny medical care such as birth control or abortion to patients if it clashes with their morals.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on Friday filed a proposal to "rescind in its entirety" the so-called refusal or conscience rule, which was pushed through by former president George W Bush on December 18, a month before Obama took office.
The DHHS said in its filing that there were concerns "the rule would limit access to patient care" and that some people,
in particular in rural and other underserved areas, could be denied access to services.
"The Department believes that the comments on the ... proposed rule raised a number of questions that warrant further careful consideration. It is important that the Department have the opportunity to review this regulation to ensure its consistency with current Administration policy," the filing said.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) hailed the move as "a common sense fix."