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February 27, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Calls President Obama's Action on Dangerous Bush-Era Rule a Victory for Women

Bush Refusal Rule could have jeopardized women's access to birth control, other basic health care

Washington, D.C. –Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today praised the Obama administration for moving forward to repeal the anti-choice Federal Refusal Rule.

News organizations first reported the administration's intentions today. This rule, put in place in the closing days of the Bush administration, could allow insurance companies to deny claims for the birth-control pill, hospitals to refuse emergency contraceptives to rape survivors, and employees at HMOs to refuse their patients referrals for abortion care.

"President Obama's action today to move forward in repealing this rule reinforces why elections matter and how new leadership can end divisive policies that harm women," Keenan said. "President Obama has signaled his intent to honor the public's call for a focus on commonsense, common-ground solutions that make a difference in the lives of women and their families. We will continue to work with President Obama to change the tone of the debate over reproductive rights by protecting women's access to contraception, which actually helps prevent unintended pregnancies."

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which was cited in the original July 15, 2008 article in The New York Times about the proposed regulation, channeled more than 25,000 comments the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website when this proposal was first introduced. Leading members of the U.S. Senate and House from both sides of the debate over reproductive rights sent letters calling on then-HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to abandon the regulation. In addition, medical organizations, faith-based groups, governors, state attorneys general, state legislators, and even members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission called for the Bush administration to abandon the proposed regulation.

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