The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Planned Parenthood Applauds Rescinding of Bush HHS Midnight Rule


Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds the Obama
administration for taking the first step in rescinding a midnight
regulation that undermines the country's fragile health care system as
well as patients' access to health care information and services.

"Today's action by the Obama administration demonstrates
that this president is not going to stand by and let women's health be
placed in jeopardy. By taking the first step in rescinding the harmful
midnight regulation, the Obama administration is standing up for
patients having the right to receive complete and accurate health
information and services," said PPFA President Cecile Richards.

According to the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) website,
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent a proposed
rule titled "Rescission of the Regulation Issued by the Department of
Health and Human Services on December 19, 2008, Implementing the Church
Amendments (42 U.S.C. 300a-7), Section 245 of the Public Health
Service" to OMB for review.

"Our priority is ensuring that the millions of patients we
see every year receive complete and accurate health information and
services," said Richards. "In these difficult economic times and with
more than 45 million Americans currently uninsured, it is critical that
we work to increase, not limit, access to health care. When a patient
walks into a hospital, pharmacy, or any health care center she should
be confident she will receive complete and accurate health care
information and services."

When the Bush administration proposed the rule, roughly 200,000 U.S.
citizens, federal and state elected officials, medical organizations,
and health care advocacy and religious organizations submitted comments
opposing the misguided rule, including

  • a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 members of Congress
  • a bipartisan group of governors, including Governors John Baldacci
    (D-ME), Chet Culver (D-IA), Jim Doyle (D-WI), Christine Gregoire
    (D-WA), David Paterson (D-NY), M. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Edward Rendell
    (D-PA), and Ted Strickland (D-OH)
  • a bipartisan group of attorneys general, including those from
    Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland,
    Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island,
    Utah, and Vermont
  • state legislators from a number of states, including Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin
  • nongovernmental organizations ranging from the American Nurses
    Association, the American Medical Student Association, the American
    Social Health Association, the Association of Reproductive Health
    Professionals, and several prominent HIV/AIDS, international health,
    and gay rights organizations

In addition, the legal counsel and two commissioners from the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also submitted comments,
explaining that the rule creates unnecessary confusion for the nearly
600,000 health care facilities it reaches.

By allowing health insurance companies, hospitals, doctors,
physicians, and health care workers of all kinds to deny patients vital
health care information and services, without the patient even knowing,
the rule undermines health care access and creates chaos in an already
stressed health care system, particularly for low-income women and
families whose options are already limited.

In January, Planned Parenthood filed legal action challenging the
regulation. In addition, the Connecticut attorney general, joined by
the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New
Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island filed a separate but
parallel legal action challenging the regulation. These states have
taken proactive steps in enacting legislation that protects patients'
access to vital health care services and information - for example,
laws that guarantee rape survivors have access to emergency
contraception in emergency rooms. The current HHS regulation poses a
serious barrier to the states' enforcement of their laws protecting

Click HERE for more resources on opposition to HHS midnight rule.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.