The rule, which which would redefine birth control as abortion and pose a signficant threat to women's healthcare, has officially been proposed, and the spin is that it's all about a conscience clause (and you know how I feel about those) and providing protection to healthcare workers "who refuse to participate in abortions because of religious or moral objections."
Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray are still trying to get Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to respond to their concerns about the proposed rule change, which will automatically take effect after a 30-day comment period:
U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), who led the Senate's efforts to preempt Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt's move to issue a rule that could have impacted access to comprehensive family planning for millions of American women, today decried HHS's decision to move forward with a modified rule that would put ideology over women’s health by putting in place barriers to receiving quality, affordable health care and scientifically-proven, accurate information for those who need it the most.If that asshole won't respond to two sitting US Senators, I'm sure this 30-day comment period will be treated with the seriousness it deserves. Snort.
"It appears that the Bush administration is once again putting politics before public health. In issuing this rule Secretary Leavitt has ignored the requests of Congress and the needs of millions of American women," Senator Murray said. "For eight years this administration has worked to undermine women's health – they won't get away with it on their way out the door."
"Make no mistake: the Bush Administration is threatening access to family planning options for women who need them most. This is just one more example of the Bush Administration putting ideology ahead of science and women’s health. We cannot allow the health and reproductive rights of women to be undermined and it is time for those who support women’s health to make our voices heard,” said Senator Clinton.
On July 16, the Senators sent a letter urging Leavitt to drop the proposed rule. A week later on July 22, they led a group of 28 Senators in sending yet another letter to the Secretary. Secretary Leavitt still has not responded to either correspondence. Following comments by Secretary Leavitt posted on his personal blog, Senators Clinton and Murray on August 8 called for a meeting with Secretary Leavitt to hear from him directly how HHS plans to ensure women continue to have access to basic healthcare. Secretary Leavitt has not responded to their request.
This? Would be a perfect example of why I keep saying that the Supreme Court isn't the front for reproductive rights anymore. It's also a perfect example of what I mean when I say that the Democrats (with the extremely notable exceptions of Murray and Clinton) are guilty of letting Roe become an impotent statute without putting up a much-needed fight.
This is a BIG DEAL. Where the hell are the rest of the Democrats, if they care so fucking much about women's rights? Where the hell is the Democratic nominee on this? Where the hell are all the progressives who care so fucking deeply about Roe that they've been beating me and every other feminazi bitch who has the ovaries to question The Party over the head with it for the past six months?
Gee, sometimes I get the impression that protecting reproductive rights isn't really all that important to everyone who says they are.