The battle to protect Americans’ rights to access contraception in good conscience, based on long-standing and widely accepted medical science, got a big boost today from MoveOn.org. In an email urging action from its more than 3.5 million members, MoveOn.org asks people to write HHS opposing the proposed regulations.
MoveOn.org spokesperson Ilyse Hogue said, "Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, MoveOn members refuse to let President Bush implement extreme policies that would hurt women in the final days of his presidency."
RH Reality Check’s first article on the topic (the most widely read piece in our site’s two year history) is cited by MoveOn.org in their email. The MoveOn.org letter is quoted below in full and we encourage our readers to sign this petition.
Dear MoveOn member,
Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won’t cover
it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?
It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women’s reproductive freedom and protect rape victims.1 Access to basic health care for millions of women would be jeopardized. And it’s being pushed as a "rule change"—meaning, it doesn’t need congressional approval.
Can you sign an emergency message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change right now? Tell him: "Contraception is NOT abortion. The Bush Administration’s
proposal to change the definition of abortion and reduce women’s access to birth control must be stopped."
The best way to beat back this proposal is to show Secretary Leavitt massive public outrage—that’s why today we’re launching this petition jointly with Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Together, we’ll deliver every signature to Leavitt. You can help add to our momentum by forwarding this message to friends.
Here’s what some others are saying about this proposal:
The draft regulation would define birth control as abortion…it could deny access to critical family planning for women across the country.—Letter signed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and 26 other senators.2
The draft rule could void laws in 27 states that require insurance companies to provide birth control coverage for women requesting it [and] laws in 14 states requiring that rape victims receive counseling and access to emergency, day-after contraceptives.—Houston Chronicle editorial3
The administration needs to stop playing word games with women’s health and state clearly they will reject any regulations that will undermine women’s access to basic health care.—Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.4
[It's] a spectacular act of complicity with the religious right…—RH Reality Check, Information and Analysis for Reproductive Health5
The birth control pill, the IUD, and emergency contraception might all become unavailable—illegal—as a result.—Brigid Riley, executive director of a Minnesota teen pregnancy prevention organization6
Can you help send a loud message to Secretary Leavitt that birth control is NOT abortion? Clicking here will sign your name.
Thanks for all you do.
–Nita, Laura, Patrick S., Adam G., and the rest of the team
1. "Redefining abortion; Federal officials considering a rule allowing health care workers to refuse to provide contraceptives," Houston Chronicle, August 10, 2008
2. Letter to Secretary Mike Leavitt from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and 26 other senators, July 23, 2008
3. "Redefining abortion; Federal officials considering a rule allowing health care workers to refuse to provide contraceptives," Houston Chronicle editorial, August 10, 2008
4. "Birth control: is administration backing down—or not?" Los Angeles Times blog, August 8, 2008
5. "HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion," RH Reality Check, July 15, 2008
6. "White House Considering Contraception Restrictions," Public News Service, August 11, 2008
See all of RH Reality Check’s coverage of the proposed HHS regulations, featuring expert analysis from Sen. Hillary Clinton, Mary Jane Gallagher, Robin Summers, Lon Newman, Dr. Anne Davis, Carole Joffe, Cristina Page, Katha Pollit and more.