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Last Minute Bush Regulations Take a Parting Shot at Health Care for Women

Friday, December 19, 2008 General News J E 4
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PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 18 Today, the Bush Administration issued final regulations that will dramatically change women's health care. These regulations will enable health care professionals, organizations, pharmacists and insurance companies to refuse to provide health care services, information or referrals based on moral or religious reasons.



"With these regulations, the Bush Administration is allowing ideology to trump good health care," said Dorothy Mann, Executive Director, Family Planning Council. "President Bush has waited until the very last month of his Presidency to take draconian and unnecessary measures that will profoundly change health care for women," Mann added.



The regulations interpret three Federal laws that give individuals and institutions, which receive Federal funding, the ability to refuse to provide any type of service related to abortion for moral or religious reasons. This can include the provision of certain methods of birth control that are mistakenly considered abortifacients including IUDs and emergency contraception.



"The scope of these regulations are astonishing. Institutions and individuals in every community will be able to refuse to provide contraception because they mistakenly believe that certain methods of birth control cause abortion," Mann declared. "The Bush Administration has determined that the availability of family planning services could depend solely on the individual whims and ideology of any health care provider," Mann added.



As written, the regulations may override various state laws or regulations regarding contraception. In Pennsylvania, these regulations would, in all likelihood, invalidate recently issued state regulations governing the provision of emergency contraception to rape victims in hospital emergency rooms.



The regulations issued today were the subject a nationwide response with over 200,000 comments sent in opposition. "Protections already exist that carefully balance the rights of employees to religious liberty and we have every expectation that President Obama and Secretary Daschle will work quickly to rescind these regulations," Mann said.



The Family Planning Council is a private, non-profit organization. It funds 28 local health care organizations including the region's top teaching hospitals, community health centers, Planned Parenthood affiliates and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. These agencies provide high quality, comprehensive family planning services throughout the five county Philadelphia. Last year, 145,000 low-income women, men and adolescents were served through this network.



SOURCE Family Planning Council
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