September 2, 2008

Birth Control is a Private Matter, Not Political

Women are being used in this ideological battle over who controls your body, especially your reproductive organs. Anyone under the age of 50 can remember that time, that world, those days long ago, before we could take contraception for granted. I’m not talking about abortion but the right for a woman to decide she would deliberately engage in a sexual experience for pleasure and not for the purpose of bearing a child. Even with one's own husband, mind you! That was the sexual revolution and not too many men complained about it, as I recall. But the Priests and moral hot heads were outraged that women might take it upon themselves to prevent conception. Today's young women can’t begin to imagine how hellish that world was, because it forced every single person to be a liar and/or hypocrite. I’m especially driven crazy with fundamentalists who turn instinctual body awareness into distortions like fantasies of “purity” or something dirty or contemptible that is “ugly”. Well, I’ll tell you what’s ugly: totalitarian rule, and we've got to do something about it. NOW!

McCain: Viagra or Birth Control

Whose Conscience Is It, Anyway?

The Bush Administration has now published the rewritten rules on "conscience" and those of us in good conscience must register our outrage.[All comments in bold and/or color are mine]

Action Needed:

Send your comments to Secretary Mike Leavitt at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Tell him: "This Administration has lost its moral compass when the personal and private beliefs of a pharmacist or bookkeeper are more important than a woman's bodily integrity, her health, her future, and her right to family planning options. Birth Control is NOT Abortion."

There are less than 30 days before this restrictive and destructive regulation goes into effect. Act NOW!

Send an email!

Or post a comment on Secretary Leavitt's blog!


In July, advocates learned of a draft administrative regulation which redefined abortion and threatened to withhold family planning funds from clinics and medical providers if they did not follow a set of punitive and often redundant rules.

On Tuesday, August 26 - Women's Equality Day no less - the proposed regulations were rewritten, finalized and published in the Federal Register. Despite the elimination of the most controversial language in the leaked draft (which defined many common forms of contraception as abortion), the new version of the rule expands the universe of providers that can refuse contraception and other health care services, including abortion.

Even with some editing, the rule continues to allow doctors, nurses, and nearly anyone else employed in a health care setting to deny women access to birth control, based on their own personal belief that birth control is immoral. [or how about, "It's okay for me but you're not ready"]

The regulation puts other federal and state laws and policies that protect women's access to birth control in serious jeopardy, including state laws that require hospitals to provide sexual-assault survivors with access to emergency contraception. Currently, there are "crisis pregnancy centers" in communities across the country that look like health care centers, but deliver woefully incomplete care and only provide the reproductive healthcare options that fit their agenda: NO birth control, NO abortion -- and NO choice for women and families who need it!

If Bush's proposed regulation takes effect, these "crisis pregnancy centers" are likely to receive a massive influx of our tax dollars.

At a time when 17 million women are in need of publicly-supported reproductive health care services, this regulation disparately impacts the low-income, uninsured and under-insured women who rely on these programs for their health information and services!

TAKE ACTION NOW - Send your comments to Secretary Leavitt at HHS that this must not continue.

Women's rights and health advocates have already sent almost a half million protest messages, but we must continue to demand that this lame duck Administration CEASE this effort.

Talking Points (add these and your own thoughts to the email when you "take action")

This will leave the door open for community health centers, hospitals and individuals to refuse to provide mainstream family planning counseling and contraception because they fear losing federal funds -- and it will expand the power of individuals to refuse to provide even the most basic information, counseling on contraception, and referral for important health care services.

Federal law has for years carefully balanced protections for an individual's religious liberty (conscience) and a patient's right to the full range of reproductive health care. The new, unnecessary regulations give major weight to the rights of the providers and the patients lose out.


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