For more information—and motivation, should you need any—Senator Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards have a must-read op-ed in today's New York Times about the proposed change, outlining why this is not merely an issue for pro-choice women:
The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified "other medical procedures" that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.Make your voice heard!
Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of "other medical procedures." Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?
The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider's conscience. But where are the protections for patients?
[Previous posts on the HHS Rule Change here, here, here, here, here, and here.]