One month ago, I wrote a post about how the Bush administration was considering a new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule which would restrict access to contraception and abortion. The rule would prevent any institution which receives government funding from "discriminating" against a person for refusing to participate in abortion or abortion-related procedures or counseling.
Last week, the Bush administration officially proposed this dangerous new regulation.
Though the new version of the rule has removed the language that redefines "abortion" to include many types of hormonal contraception, it has now left the definition of abortion open to the interpretation of individual providers. As I have previously covered, some people believe that contraception is a form of abortion, even though it cannot in any way end an established pregnancy. Even though this definition of abortion is false, the right to refuse services on these grounds would fall under a person's right to "religious beliefs or moral convictions" -- and so, birth control is still at risk.
There is a 30 day comment period where the public can comment on the regulation before it is passed. You can help to fight the rule by making your voice heard and submitting a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services by September 25. The more comments submitted, the better.
The country is currently facing a situation where more and more families are uninsured and on a tight budget. In a time when many are struggling, this rule would restrict women's access to health care, particularly for those who are low-income and/or already have limited access. Despite HHS Secretary Leavitt's insistence that women can simply "go to another provider," not all people have the ability and resources to do so. In fact, women in this situation may not even know that they're not receiving full or accurate information from their health care provider -- the one source they should be able to trust most!
Make sure to send in your comment to HHS today. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and all Planned Parenthood affiliates are working hard to prevent this rule from going into effect. You help the effort by sending an emergency donation to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.