Thursday, March 12, 2009

Show your support to rescind these regulations

Help Rescind Harmful Reproductive Health Regulations

Take Action!

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 21:  U.S. President Geor...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This week the Obama administration proposed a rule that would rescind a harmful regulation targeting reproductive health and family planning services published in the final hours of President George W. Bush's term of office. This Obama administration action is a critical first step, a response influenced by the vocal opposition of AAUW Action Network members and others, but now we must take the next step by responding to the administration's call for public comments. Act now and support rescinding this harmful regulation.

The Bush administration ignored opposition from citizens, members of Congress, physicians and women's health groups, and even officials in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when it finalized a midnight regulation that would severely limit women's access to reproductive health and family planning services, including some of the most common forms of birth control. In contrast, this proposed new rule and public comment period highlight a new outlook on reproductive rights and women's access to health care services and information.

The Bush "conscience" regulation allows health care employees to refuse to provide any health care service that is in any way contrary to their personal beliefs, without any consideration for patients' guaranteed access to medical care and complete health-related information. This allows individuals to withhold crucial information about health services and refuse to refer patients to other locations where such services could be obtained. It also grants refusal rights to any member of a health care facility's paid or voluntary staff, from appointment schedulers to janitorial staff. Further, the rule may undermine state laws protecting women's access to reproductive health care, including those requiring health insurance plans that provide drug benefits to cover contraceptives as well; laws that require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors; and laws that require pharmacies to fill patients' valid medical prescriptions. Act now and support rescinding this harmful regulation.
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