The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Linda Paris, (202) 675-2312;

Obama Administration Initiates Review of Bush Health Care Denial Rule

Bush Rule Hampers Access to Reproductive Health Services and Should Be Rescinded, Says ACLU


Obama administration is initiating a review of an ill-advised Bush
administration rule that allows health care workers and facilities to
refuse to provide reproductive health care services, even at the
expense of patient safety. The rule, pushed through in the waning hours
of the Bush administration despite public objection,threatens access to
basic reproductive health services, including contraception and
counseling for abortion care.

"We are pleased that the Obama administration recognizes that this rule was essentially the Bush administration's parting shot against women's health and warrants careful review," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The
rule jeopardizes patients' access to important reproductive health
services, especially for low-income and uninsured women who rely on
federally funded health centers for care."

issuing the rule in December 2008, the Bush administration received
more than 200,000 comments, the overwhelming majority of which opposed
the rule. Comments were submitted from major medical associations such
as the American Medical Association and the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women's health organizations, members
of Congress, state governors and attorneys general, the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, religious advocates, and the general

"The Obama administration has taken the first step toward rescinding this rule that fails to properly balance protections for individual religious liberty and patients' access to health care," said Jennifer Dalven, Deputy Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "At
a time when more and more Americans are either uninsured or struggling
with the soaring costs of health care, our federal government should be
expanding, not hampering access to important health services. We are
confident this ill-advised rule will ultimately be completely

January 15, 2009, the ACLU, on behalf of the National Family Planning
& Reproductive Health Association, filed a lawsuit in federal court
challenging the Bush rule. The case was filed along with two other
legal challenges: one brought by the state of Connecticut, joined by
California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and
Rhode Island; and the other, by Planned Parenthood Federation of
America and Planned Parenthood of Connecticut.

For ACLU's legal claim, go to:

For ACLU's comments on the Bush rule, go to:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666