[permaculture] O.T.: Bush Administration's Parting Shot at Women’s Rights | Hopefully this will be undone soon after 1/20/2009 by the Obama administration's H&HS secretary Tom Daschle.
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lflj at intrex.net
Fri Dec 26 06:07:05 EST 2008
Editorial - A Parting Shot at Women’s Rights - NYTimes.com
A Parting Shot at Women’s Rights
Published: December 25, 2008
Undermining women’s reproductive rights and access to health care has been a pervasive theme of the outgoing
administration. On his first full day in office, President Bush imposed the “global gag rule,” which prohibits taxpayer
dollars from going to international family-planning groups that perform abortions using their own funds or that advocate
for safe abortion laws.
So it was unsurprising, but still dismaying, that the secretary of health and human services, Michael Leavitt, chose to
extend that dismal record at the last minute with yet another awful regulation. A parting gift to the far right, the new
regulation aims to hinder women’s access to abortion, contraceptives and the information necessary to make decisions
about their own health. What makes it worse is that the policy is wrapped up in a phony claim to safeguard religious
The law has long allowed doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in an abortion. Mr. Leavitt’s changes elevate the
so-called right to refuse beyond reason to an increased number of medical institutions and a broad range of health care
workers and services — including abortion referrals, unbiased counseling and provision of emergency contraception, even
to rape victims.
The impact will be hardest on poor women who rely on public programs for their health care.
In July, Barack Obama, still a senator at the time, signed a letter to Mr. Leavitt, along with some of his colleagues,
urging Mr. Leavitt to scrap an earlier draft of the regulation. It cited a number of problems that were perpetuated in
the final version.
The Health and Human Services regulation is due to become effective on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. By acting right away
to suspend its implementation, President-elect Barack Obama and his choice to succeed Mr. Leavitt, Tom Daschle, can
block irresponsible changes that threaten people’s rights and defy the federal government’s duty on public health.
They should do so, and promptly follow up with a formal rule-making proceeding to rescind the regulation once and for
all. And they can get rid of the gag rule.
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