Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bush administration strikes to reduce availability of family planning services it doesn't like.

The Bush administration has promulgated a new regulation that gives health care workers, hospitals, and insurers more leeway to refuse to provide abortion or sterilization services for moral or religious reasons. Under the regulation these entities don't have to provide information about these services, nor to refer patients who want them to those who will provide them. It applies to organization or person receiving funds from the Department of Health and Human Services. The regulation also requires a lot of paperwork by health care providers receiving such funds to certify compliance.

The provisions of law cited as being implemented by the new regulation have been around for some time. They have been implemented in the past by HHS. The new regulation therefore seems to be issued in an attempt to further reduce access to abortion and sterilization services, and even information about such services.

As you might expect, there was an outpouring of objections to the draft regulation when it was put out for comment, and apparently most of these were ignored.

The regulation apparently will go into operation on January 18th, but because it has been issued so late the Congress may overturn it. Senator Clinton has apparently already introduced legislation to do so.

For your information:
The Supreme Court says women have the constitutional right to choose. I don't want them trying to make good choices without good information. I also don't see how a health service provider should have the right to provide a patient about a medical procedure that the informed patient might feel appropriate for herself. While I see that a hospital might appropriately put a physician who did not want to provide that information on a service other than OBGYN, it should be able to find someone to provide it when appropriate.

For those who oppose abortion, remember that there were many abortions performed when they were illegal. The result was a lot of unnecessary injury and even deaths of young women.

Lets hope that the Congress has the good sense to act quickly to overturn this regulation!

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