Take Action. Save the Children! (This is meant to be sarcastic)
HHS Needs a News Flash: Birth Control is NOT Abortion
This summer, women's rights advocates discovered an impending administration attack on birth control. After hearing a multitude of protests, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blogs that it wasn't his intent.
Let's make sure it isn't. Take action NOW!
Tell Mike Leavitt: "Birth control isn't abortion. Period. No matter how you try to explain it, this proposal will undermine women's access to birth control and other -- so DROP this idea immediately."
Send an email to Secretary Leavitt!
Post a comment on Secretary Leavitt's blog!
In July, advocates learned of a draft administrative regulation which -- if implemented as written -- could:
1) Effectively redefine abortion to include commonly used health care clinics from providing birth control products to women who need them, out of fear of losing critical federal funds., and would discourage medical providers from offering those contraceptives. This expanded definition of abortion will discourage doctors and
2) Force family planning clinics to hire personnel who are anti-birth-control? No kidding! The drafted regulation would also have required agencies that receive family planning funding to certify that they will not discriminate in hiring people who object to abortion or who object to dispensing birth control on the basis of "religious beliefs or moral convictions."
3) Result in a dramatic influx of federal funding to fake clinics -- so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that provide no family planning or abortion services, and often provide false and misleading information to women.
When all of this was pointed out to Leavitt, in letters from Congress, in comments posted on his blog, and in petitions circulated by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), he backtracked -- but the draft regulations haven't yet been changed. And according to the Washington Post, Clinton and Murray aren't satisfied, writing to Leavitt: "We remain concerned by the regulations' potential to create barriers for women seeking health care, to jeopardize federal programs that provide family planning services and to disrupt state laws securing women's access to birth control."
The draft regulation, prepared by the Bush Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and currently circulating among anti-women officials, redefines abortion as, "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." Taking a page from the extremist right, they are deliberately blurring the lines between contraception and abortion, providing an extraordinarily broad definition of abortion that could be interpreted to cover various, including oral contraceptives, (IUD's), and .
This draft regulation requires entities and individuals that receive family planning funding to certify that they will not discriminate against people who object to abortion or to dispensing birth control on the basis of "religious beliefs or moral convictions." Under the guise of passing anti-discrimination laws to protect health care providers participating in federal programs, the proposed regulation would effectively undermine a health care provider's ability to offer the very services for which they are funded, as well as a patient's ability to access those services. All health care providers must be able to appropriately screen and hire individuals capable and willing to perform the core services that they provide.
The regulation puts laws and policies that protect women's access to birth control in serious jeopardy, including state laws that require hospitals to provide sexual-assault survivors with access to emergency contraception. The draft rule limiting Title X funding will create a direct conflict between Title X (America's Family Planning Program) and theand Medicaid programs, which requires that grantees provide a broad range of contraceptive services and supplies to their patients.
Currently, there are "crisis pregnancy centers" in communities across the country that look like health care centers, but deliver woefully incomplete care and only provide the options that fit their agenda: NO birth control, NO abortion -- and NO choice for women and families who need it! If Bush's proposed regulation takes effect, these "crisis pregnancy centers" are likely to receive a massive influx of our tax dollars.
At a time when 17 million women are in need of publicly-supported reproductive health care services, this regulation disparately impacts the low-income, uninsured and under-insured women who rely on these programs for their health information and services!
TAKE ACTION NOW -- Tell Secretary Leavitt that his staff should be fired if they really circulated this draft regulation without his knowledge. He should drop this whole idea.