HHS Rule Change Update

The Good News: The Obama administration is laying the groundwork to rescind the HHS Rule that puts women's access to basic healthcare in jeopardy by allowing providers, based on their personal biases, to withhold both services and information women need to make fully informed decisions about their healthcare.

Proposed by the Bush administration and put into effect in January (despite 200,000+ opposing views registered during the open comment period), the rule has already been challenged in federal court by several state governments and advocacy organizations, and now Team Obama is on the move:
A Health and Human Services official said the administration will publish notice of its intentions early next week, and open a 30-day comment period for advocates, medical groups and the public. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official notice has not been completed.
The Bad News: Team Obama reportedly does not want to jettison the idea of a conscience clause altogether:
The Obama administration supports the underlying federal laws that protect conscience rights, said the HHS official.

But the administration was concerned that the Bush regulation could also be used to refuse birth control, family planning services and counseling for vaccines and transfusions.

"The administration supports a tightly written conscience clause," said the HHS official. "While we are concerned about the Bush rule, we also understand there might be a need to clarify existing laws."
That sounds to me like there's a distinct possibility the administration may not have a problem with a rule allowing medical professionals to refuse to perform even emergency abortions and dispense emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors—two major concerns regarding the original rule change. Ugh.

Graanted, it's one AP article, so I'll take a cautiously optimistic approach and wait and see what the administration's official line is (which we should know soon).

That said, I'm going to be profoundly unhappy with any federal support of conscience clauses. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I've yet to meet a conscience-clauser who wasn't a misogybag, transphobe or homobigot, but I'm pretty damn cynical about the contention that they're ever used for anything besides dressing up the same old tired-ass retrofuckery in a cloak of pearl-clutching martyrdom.

And I certainly hope that sounds precisely as contemptuous as I intended.

[H/T to Vanessa. Previously on on the HHS Rule Change: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine.]

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