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February 18, 2011

Obama Administration Stands Up for Patients’ Access to Medical Care

New language from HHS protects women’s access to birth control, stands in stark contrast to ‘war on contraception’ unfolding on Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today hailed the Obama administration for repealing the worst parts of the Bush administration’s last-minute Federal Refusal Rule. 

This rule, put in place in the closing days of the Bush administration, could have allowed insurance companies to deny claims for birth-control pills, hospitals to refuse emergency contraception to rape survivors, and employees at HMOs to refuse their patients referrals for abortion care.

“The language published today reaffirms the principles of protecting the doctor-patient relationship by repealing the most onerous and intrusive parts of Bush’s last-minute refusal rule,” Keenan said. “As the Obama administration seeks to protect women’s access to birth control, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing to vote for a bill that would eliminate funding for family-planning services nationwide. This is yet another example of why elections matter. When we elect people who value women’s health and privacy, women win.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which was cited in the original July 15, 2008 article in The New York Times about the Bush administration’s proposed regulation, channeled more than 25,000 comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website when this proposal was first introduced. 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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