In a parting shot at women, George W. Bush is making sure that his anti-women, anti-abortion, anti-birth control legacy is firmly in place.
Yesterday, the administration issued the final version of a controversial new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “conscience” rule — just in time to take effect on Jan 18, two days before President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. This harmful regulation would require any health care entity receiving federal funds to certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with any medical services they find objectionable.
Unless it is rejected swiftly, this rule will seriously obstruct women’s ability to receive basic reproductive services, including birth control and emergency contraception, and could limit access to HIV testing and other services that some individuals might say are “objectionable” to them.
NOW calls on the Obama administration and Congress to act quickly to rescind the HHS rule. We are encouraged by President-elect Obama’s earlier criticism of the rule and by the legislative efforts of Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and their House colleagues, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) to prevent this rule from going into force.
The reproductive health and autonomy of women in this country have been held hostage long enough. We are counting on our next president and the 111th Congress to begin to lead us out of the anti-women, anti-science wilderness, starting with repealing dangerous and cruel regulations that have been a hallmark of the Bush administration.