Last-minute Friday prophylactic!

If it were ever prudent for politician to actually act like a lame duck, it might be a president with an approval rating hovering consistently around 30 percent, and whose party stands to take a second trouncing in upcoming national elections. Not our W, though. He and his administration continue to introduce right-wing propaganda as law and generally act as if they have a mandate to knock the legal system back to circia 1918.

The latest example: proposed health-care regulations that would force clinics, hospitals, and other recipients of federal Health and Human Services funding to certify that they do not discriminate against potential hires based on their objection to abortion or emergency contraception.

You can probably figure out the ramifications of such a rule pretty quickly yourself, but I'll quote from an email from Jeffrey Hons, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Trust of San Antonio and South Central Texas:

• Medicaid is a USDHHS payer, so the new regs would apply to a very large universe of healthcare providers.

• the draft regulation includes an expansive defintion of abortion, which reads: "any of the various procedures -- including prescription, dispensing, and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action -- that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation." This would include birth-control methods that prevent implantation, which includes the pill, the IUD.

As Hons notes in his email, this could affect women seeking emergency contraception following rape or incest, as well as women pursuing their entirely legal right to acquire and use birth control, and when necessary, seek an abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Hons adds:
• Historically, executive order regs like this are announced and followed by a 30-day comment period before implementation.

• If enacted, this is an executive order, not an act of congress, and the next president will be able to end this, but not before the current administration wreaks havoc.

• It's important to consider how this proposed regulation would advance protection for conscience clauses and personal beliefs above historical requirements for licensed professionals to provide care when care is needed.

Want to let the Administration know that religious freedom can't come at the expense of women's reproductive rights (any more than it can come at the expense of underage women who don't want to be "spiritually married" to someone old enough to be their father)? Contact your congress(wo)men and senators. If they hear from 12 people, says Planned Parenthood's government-affairs arm, they'll consider it an issue.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: (202) 224-5922
Senator John Cornyn: (202) 224-2934

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez: (202) 225-3236
Congressman Ciro Rodriguez: (202) 225-4511
Congressman Lamar Smith: (202) 225-4236
Congressman Henry Cuellar: (202) 225-1640

But as long as you're agitating, let the home office know you're unhappy, too. 


The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Comments:   202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX:             202-456-2461


Comments:      202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

[email protected].

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