The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) slammed a new Bush administration rule that allows health care workers to refuse to perform an abortion for religious reasons.

The rule, seen as a measure to expand the ability of workers to object to certain reproductive treatments, was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday.

"Under this rule, patients may be denied not only vital medical services, but also critical information, referrals, prescriptions and counseling related to their reproductive health," ADL Civil Rights Director Deborah M. Lauter said in a statement. "The new rule chips away at a woman's constitutionally protected, fundamental right to choose."

Lauter added that while the organization, a longtime stalwart against anti-Semitism and other religious intolerance, called on President-elect Obama to reverse what the ADL termed a "discriminatory" rule.