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July 18, 2008

Opposition to Bush Attack on Birth Control Continues to Grow

Opposition to Bush Attack on Birth Control Continues to GrowIn less than 48 hours, NARAL Pro-Choice America's activists sent 20,000 messages to Congress opposing proposed regulation; congressional leaders respond to public's awareness and outrage

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, hailed pro-choice Americans for not letting the Bush administration's latest attack on birth control go unanswered.

Keenan said her organization had channeled 20,000 messages to Congress in opposition to a draft anti-birth control proposal exposed by media reports early this week. The proposal would allow health-care corporations or individuals to consider birth control "abortion" and claim a so-called "conscience" exemption and therefore refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.

"This Bush proposal has the potential to undermine state laws that guarantee rape survivors' access to contraception in the emergency room or require insurance companies to cover prescription birth control in the same way they pay for Viagra," Keenan said. "Americans want their leaders to work on improving women's access to contraception because it's a commonsense way to prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place. This is yet another example of just how out of touch Bush is with the country's priorities—and we will not give up in our fight to keep him from doing more damage as he prepares to leave the White House."

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) sent an immediate letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt outlining how the proposed regulation would affect women's reproductive health, and urging him to reconsider. A similar letter from both pro-choice and pro-life lawmakers is presently in circulation.

Keenan also cited the Los Angeles Times, which recently reported that, after "Digg", a popular social-linking site, posted a link to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement against the regulation, the traffic to the speaker's web site was so heavy that it temporarily shut down. The speaker's office issued the following statement: "Our website is being deluged with readers incredulous that the Bush administration may be trying to redefine contraception as abortion. We hope to restore full service to our website soon."

Keenan also said the proposed regulation would continue to put anti-choice presidential candidate John McCain on the defensive about his position on contraception. News about the Bush proposal comes on the heels of widely seen video footage of McCain pausing for eight seconds in response to a question about his position to birth control. After stalling, McCain pledged to get an answer for the public, but he has not done so. The issue brings McCain's voting record, which includes 22 votes against contraception and family planning, to the forefront.

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