Action Item: HHS Rule Change Public Comment

[Previous posts on HHS Rule Change here, here, here, here, and here.]

As you may recall, last Thursday, the the Department of Health and Human Services unveiled proposed regulations which could seriously undermine women's access to reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion. Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project explains:
The Bush administration is trying to spin the proposed regulations as a necessary means of protecting health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions. But federal law has long carefully balanced protections for individual religious liberty and patients' access to reproductive health care. It's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

What's really new about these proposed regulations is that they appear to take patients' health needs out of the equation. They expand the ability of health care workers to refuse to provide complete and accurate information and counseling to women who seek services. Moreover, both the regulations, and Secretary of HHS Michael Leavitt’s public comments about them, leave the door open as to whether institutions and individuals can refuse to provide contraception.

Make no mistake: that lack of clarity is intentional. As the Washington Post reports, "…when pressed about whether the regulation would protect health-care workers who consider birth control pills, Plan B and other forms of contraception to be equivalent to abortion, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said: 'This regulation does not seek to resolve any ambiguity in that area'." Indeed, the Wall Street Journal notes Leavitt's admission that some medical providers may want to "press the definition."

Not reassuring.
The public now has 30 days to let the Bush administration know precisely what we think of these regulations. Click on the icon below to be taken directly to the ACLU's Action Alert, which allows you to send comments to HHS. It couldn't be easier. Please take just a moment to make sure your voice is heard.

Protect Birth Control

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