Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Improve, Don't Limit, Reproductive Health

Oppose Administration Regulations that Limit Family Planning Services

Take Action!

We invite our friends to join us in letting the Secretary of HHA know our distress over the regulations the agency is preparing.

Last week, the New York Times reported that the Bush administration was preparing regulations that would severely limit women's access to reproductive health and family planning services, including some of the most common forms of birth control. While current law does prohibit providers from using federal money to perform abortions, as well as prohibiting discrimination against employees who refuse to perform abortions, the possible new regulations would go many steps further.

Proposed Changes

Among the most startling of changes in the draft regulations proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services is language that would redefine abortion to include "any of the various procedures - including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action - that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation." Under this broad definition, many common forms of birth control, including birth control pills, IUDs, and emergency contraception would be falsely labeled as abortion.

The possible proposed regulations would also permit health care providers to refuse to perform any service they deem morally objectionable. In addition, the proposed regulations would trump state laws that protect women's access to reproductive health care, including those requiring health insurance plans that provide drug benefits to include coverage of contraception; laws that require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors; and laws that require pharmacies to fill patients' valid medical prescriptions. The proposed regulations also could severely limit access to counseling, education, contraception, and preventive health care services for low-income and underinsured women and men-those who need it most.

Our Position

AAUW supports the right of every woman to safe, accessible, affordable, and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services and believes that access to complete reproduction health information and services enhance women's reproductive choices.

We urge the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the reproductive health and safety of all women and girls, rather than limit it.

Take Action!
Send a message to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt urging him to reconsider this attack on family planning. Simply click on the "Take Action" link in the upper right corner or copy and paste the following URL into your Internet browser. Then follow the instructions to send your message. http://capwiz.com/aauw/issues/alert/?alertid=11665371

For more information, please read AAUW's position paper on reproductive rights.

Photo by littlemisskool

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