An anonymous commenter* points out that Obama, when he said, "Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause," probably meant allowing health-care workers to exercise their personal consciences and deny abortion services to patients. This is a very dangerous precedent.
*Anonymous comments really irritate me. Please at least use a handle when commenting here.
It is an important canon of medical ethics that all medical practitioners act unconditionally in the best interests of the patient, and suspend their own personal, moral judgment of their patient's character. We trust all medical practitioners with our very lives, and surrender an incredible amount of dignity to them (ever had a colonoscopy?) If we cannot trust them to act in our own best interests, the medical field collapses. (Well, collapses more than it already has in our capitalist economy, where it's easier for a rich person to get liposuction than a poor person to get treatment for a heart attack or stroke.)
With the increasing centralization of medical services, most people — especially poor people, and most especially poor women — don't have a choice: You go to the big general hospital in your city, or you do without, even if you have to lie down and die.
We would justly object if someone demanded we "honor their conscience" and allow them to refuse treatment to black people, or gay people, or Jews or Christians or atheists... or smokers or fat people, or motorcycle riders. Why should we object one bit less if someone demands we honor their conscience and allow them to refuse treatment — any medical treatment — to women?
If Catholic hospitals want to prohibit abortions, let them give up their non-profit status, and pay corporate income and property taxes just like any other any other capitalist business that wants to make more-or-less arbitrary distinctions in its services. If individual medical personnel working at tax-exempt or government-run hospitals don't want to perform or participate in abortions, they can move to a different specialty or different occupation. There are many fields other than medicine a person can go into, and many specialties within medicine where abortion is simply irrelevant; I recommend proctology.
But just like the opposition to Roe v. Wade is really targeted at Griswold v. Connecticut, the "conscience" issue is not really about abortion, it's about contraception, and it's about people — let's be frank, fundamentalist Christians — using their professional privilege to dictate the moral behavior of others.
Obama is no more a friend of women than he is a friend of progressives, liberals, the working (and soon-to-be unemployed) masses of Americans, or international humanity. He knows he has to kowtow to the Christian fascists to to maintain his personal power, and women are the easiest victims to sacrifice. But the fascists will not be happy with just the sacrifice of women; in just the same sense Czechoslovakia gave Hitler a hunger for more.