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Dec-19-2008 01:35printcomments

Planned Parenthood Says Midnight Regulation Jeopardizes Women's Health‏

"We are shocked that the Bush administration chose to finalize its midnight regulation and to take this parting shot..." - PPFA President Cecile Richards

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(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) sharply criticized a last-minute regulation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that poses a serious threat to patients' rights to receive complete and accurate health care information and services.

"This midnight regulation, issued in the last days of the Bush administration, undermines this country's fragile health care system as well as patients' access to health care information and services," said PPFA President Cecile Richards.

"We look forward to working with President-elect Obama and leaders in Congress to repeal this disastrous rule and expand patients' access to full health care information and services — not limit it." Under the new rule, doctors, physicians, and health care workers of all kinds can deny patients vital health care information and services, without the patient even knowing. This rule will restrict health care access at nearly 600,000 health care facilities.

With more than 45 million Americans currently uninsured, this is no time to make access to health care even more difficult.

In addition, this rule could potentially create total chaos in an already stressed health care system, particularly for low-income women and families whose options are already limited.

"We are shocked that the Bush administration chose to finalize its midnight regulation and to take this parting shot at women's health and ignore patients' rights to receive the critical health care services and information they deserve," said Richards.

"From day one, this administration has made ideology and politics a priority over patients' rights and needs, and this regulation is no different."

Roughly 200,000 U.S. citizens, federal and state elected officials, medical organizations, and health care advocacy and religious organizations submitted comments opposing the misguided rule.

The regulation broadens the scope of existing laws and reaches beyond congressional intent by focusing solely on providers, with absolutely no protections to ensure patients receive critical health care information and services.

In addition to the comments of 90,000 Planned Parenthood supporters, opposition was also voiced through official comments to HHS by these elected officials at the federal and state levels:

  • a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 members of Congress
  • a bipartisan group of governors, including Governors John Baldacci (D-ME), Chet Culver (D-IA), Jim Doyle (D-WI), Christine Gregoire (D-WA), David Paterson (D-NY), M. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Edward Rendell (D-PA), and Ted Strickland (D-OH)
  • a bipartisan group of 13 attorneys general from Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont; Attorneys general from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, submitted individual comments.
  • State legislators from a number of states wrote in opposition to the regulation, including state legislators from Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In addition, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Legal Counsel and the Commissioners submitted letters of opposition to this rule, saying it overlaps with existing law, that it is potentially confusing to the regulated community, and that it will impose a burden on covered employers, particularly small employers.

Nongovernmental organizations also made their opposition known:

  • More than 80 organizations joined Planned Parenthood in signing onto an opposition letter, including the American Nurses Association, the American Medical Student Association, the American Social Health Association, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and several prominent HIV/AIDS, international health, and gay rights organizations.
  • Prominent health care provider associations and health advocacy organizations weighed in with their opposition, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.

In May 2008, the White House issued a directive to administrative agencies to submit all proposed regulations by June 1, 2008, except in "extraordinary circumstances." The purpose of the deadline was to ensure that agencies did not engage in ill-conceived rulemaking prior to a change of administration. Yet HHS submitted its proposed rule in late August 2008 and put it on the fast track with a shortened 30-day public comment period.

Now this last-minute regulation will take effect just two days before the next administration takes office.

For more resources on opposition to HHS midnight rule, including the letters listed above, visit

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Karen P-V December 24, 2008 9:46 am (Pacific time)

Doesn't this fly in the face of the Hippocratic oath doctors take, and oaths taken by other health care professionals?

Davis December 20, 2008 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

I wonder how many Moslim doctors are going to refuse medical treatment based on Islam laws. Just like what is happening in England where a doctor can refuse to treat a woman if she is not wearing a hijab.

me December 20, 2008 5:25 pm (Pacific time)

This article is not really about Planned Parenthood and if you believe in abortion or not. Look at the bigger picture here. This is not just taking away the rights of a pregnant teenager but the rights of everyone and that means you.

Harumph December 20, 2008 4:18 pm (Pacific time)

I'm here from Congress, doctor, to make sure that no belief, morals, or other hesitance on you part, will prevent you from killing another human being for the convenience of the mother." "We are Democrats, your conscience is now obsolete, you must follow the party line."

just me December 20, 2008 1:08 pm (Pacific time)

Planned Parenthood is not worse talking about. They should not receive any money from the Federal Government. Shut them down

Eve December 20, 2008 10:57 am (Pacific time)

What a retarded way to govern a country. I hope all the guys out there that are so supportive of this evil-doer appreciate teen pregnancy, death by AIDS, rampant STDs, and rape. You're helping them all to thrive. Good job. Now the women will really learn their lesson won't they? No worries, it's not your problem, you won't get pregnant. It's a (white) man's world, and you are entitled to "sow your wild oats" as you like. Too bad if the girls pay the price, they must deserve it huh? Disgusting.

Sanfrass December 19, 2008 2:15 pm (Pacific time)

So I'm a health care provider who is opposed to blood transfusions. I am given a number of units of whole blood to take to a patient that the doctor says needs a transfusion. On my way to the break room, I dump the blood in the garbage as a "matter of conscience", but I note on the patient's chart that I administered the blood. The patient dies. Do I have a get out of jail free card? Is "my faith made me do it" a total defense to a prosecution for murder or manslaughter?

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