The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

Obama Administration Makes Official Move to Repeal Federal Refusal Rule

Pro-choice Americans praise effort to rescind last-minute Bush rule that limits women’s access to basic health care, including contraception


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today hailed the Obama administration for publishing the official notice announcing its intention to repeal the Federal Refusal Rule.

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 contraception to rape survivors, and employees at HMOs to refuse their patients referrals for abortion care.

"After enduring eight years of persistent attacks on women's freedom and privacy from the Bush administration, it is great to continue to receive good news from the new administration," Keenan said. "As we move through the process to repeal a dangerous Bush-era rule, we look forward to working with the Obama administration to change the tone of the debate over reproductive rights by protecting women's access to contraception and other basic health care that actually help 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 to 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.

For over 50 years, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. Reproductive Freedom for All is powered by its more than 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.