Obama’s preparing to reverse Bush-era rules on abortion and contraception, and apparently taking a hard look at abstinence-only education. Hurrah! Go here for more information, and go here if you’d like to make some suggestions.
From the ACLU’s Blog of Rights:
Last Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations (PDF) that could seriously undermine women’s access to reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion. Now the public has 30 days to let the Bush administration know precisely what we think of these regulations…
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.”
The deadline for feedback on this is 20 September, and volume of replies is very important, so please go here— it only takes a few seconds– to let them know what you think.
Thousands of people working at hospitals, lactation centers, maternity-product retailers, drug stores, and supermarkets are presently required by their employers to participate in breast-feeding, either by teaching it or by providing products that facilitate it. Those who refuse can be terminated at will. They endure this discrimination despite clear scientific evidence that breast-feeding poses the same abortifacient risk as oral contraception.
I’m not making this up, though I wish I was. And it’s not in some right-wing paper either. I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot about this. (Thanks, BTPS.)