Thursday, July 31, 2008
Women's Right to Choose Under Attack, Again
Rob Stein in The Washington Post
The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive.
Conservative groups, abortion opponents and some members of Congress are welcoming the initiative as necessary to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers who, they say, are increasingly facing discrimination because of their beliefs or are being coerced into delivering services they find repugnant.
But the draft proposal has sparked intense criticism by family planning advocates, women's health activists, and members of Congress who say the regulation would create overwhelming obstacles for women seeking abortions and birth control.
There is also deep concern that the rule could have far-reaching, but less obvious, implications. Because of its wide scope and because it would -- apparently for the first time -- define abortion in a federal regulation as anything that affects a fertilized egg, the regulation could raise questions about a broad spectrum of scientific research and care, critics say.
"The breadth of this is potentially immense," said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "Is this going to result in a kind of blessed censorship of a whole host of areas of medical care and research?"
Senator Ted Stevens - "Bridge to Nowhere"
In other news about the moral values gang, here is an item from my favorite Alaska's Corrupt Bastards Club:
- "Rasmussen Reports, an electronic publishing firm specializing in public opinion polling information, today released new statistics showing U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich winning the Alaska Senate race by nine points. The poll, a telephone survey of 500 likely voters, shows Begich beating Sen. Ted Stevens 50 percent to 41 percent. According to Rasmussen Reports, when “leaners” are included, Begich leads 52 percent to 44 percent."