Obama Administration Moves to Rescind Health Care Refusal Rule, Defends Women’s Reproductive Rights

The Obama administration announced today that it is moving to rescind the controversial Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refusal or “conscience” rule.

“This is a positive move by the Obama administration, and a demonstration of the president’s commitment to women and reproductive health care,” said NOW President Kim Gandy.

This dangerous HHS rule, adopted in the final hours of the Bush administration, allows health care workers to deny any medical service — such as birth control or emergency contraception — that they find objectionable.

“This is a victory for women who rely on access to a full range of family planning services, and a victory for patients who deserve full information and medical care that is not withheld without their knowledge or consent,” said Gandy.

The rule went into effect on the day of Obama’s inauguration, Jan. 20, and covers any health care entity that receives federal funds. The provisions undermine women’s access to basic reproductive health care, and may even interfere with screening and treatment for HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.

“The National Organization for Women will continue to work with the Obama administration to make certain that necessary health care services are available to all who seek them. We are encouraged that President Obama is taking the right steps to ensure the health of women,” said Gandy.


Contact: Caitlin Gullickson, media[at]now.org, 202-628-8669 ext 123