For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

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

WASHINGTON - 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.


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NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

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