Earlier this month,
our country participated in an historic election, as the American people voted
for new leaders and a new direction. In the thrill of this remarkable
moment, however, we cannot forget that the Bush administration is still up to
its old tricks. Unfortunately, until January 20th, 2009, we
are governed by an administration who time and time again puts
ideology ahead of women’s health.
We have to stop the
administration’s last minute attempt to undermine health care for those
who need it most. That’s why Senator Murray and I today introduced
critical legislation to suspend the Bush Administration’s latest ploy to put
ideology before women’s health.
As many of you know,
the rule being proposed by the administration would limit patients’ access to
basic reproductive health care services and information. The Protecting
Patients and Health Care Act would prevent HHS from implementing this
ill-conceived, midnight regulation.
Senator Murray and I
have been speaking out against this rule since July when word of this
regulation first came to light. The rule, as it was then proposed in August by
the Department of Health and Human Services, is a serious threat to patients’
access to information and care.
Then in September,
Senator Murray and I had a very frank conversation with Secretary Leavitt about
how this rule could create a slippery slope leading to patients being denied
access to contraception and other important information or care. However,
despite the important concerns we raised to the Secretary, a recent news report
indicated that HHS is planning to release a final regulation in the coming
I am hopeful that members
of Congress from both sides of the aisle will join in fighting for passage of
this important piece of legislation to protect patients’ rights and health
care. And we join President-Elect Obama, the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission and hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans who have written to
HHS opposing this unconscionable proposal. I urge Secretary Leavitt
to make his decision on behalf of women’s health. Thank you.