|Urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Withdraw Harmful Rules for Women|
March 27, 2009
President Obama moved to repeal a regulation that
jeopardizes access to reproductive health care. The regulation, issued at the
end of Bush's presidency, expands the authority of individuals and institutions
to refuse to provide abortions, tubal ligations, and vasectomies based on
religious or moral beliefs and would impact research as well.
To: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
I urge you to rescind the "Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law" regulation in its entirety. This regulation:
Undermines patient rights by allowing individual providers, insurance plans, pharmacies, and hospitals to withhold information and services. It even allows for those who are tangentially involved - such as receptionists - to interfere by refusing patient referrals.
Makes it more difficult for women to obtain contraceptive services. Not only does the rule allow refusal of abortions and sterilizations, but it also enables health care providers to deny patients oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and emergency contraception. At a time when 17 million women in the United States are in need of publicly-funded contraceptives - a number that will likely grow along with the troubled economy - this rule is unconscionable.
Conflicts with existing law that requires federally-funded family planning providers to offer non-directive counseling and informed consent for any procedures.
Affects women globally. The rule applies to foreign and international organizations, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the United Nations, that receive HHS funding.
I strongly urge you to repeal this destructive regulation and help to make positive health outcomes, rather than politics, the goal of health care investments.