ACLU Asks Bush Administration to Withdraw Regulations Jeopardizing Women’s Health

September 24, 2008 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union will submit comments tomorrow to the Department of Health and Human Services asking the administration to stop regulations that could seriously undermine access to reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion.

“The proposed Bush regulations are silent when it comes to patients’ health needs, appearing to disregard long-standing federal laws that carefully balance protections for individual religious liberty and patients’ access to care,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The administration must put patients’ needs back into the health care equation.”

In its comments, the ACLU warns that the proposed regulation seriously jeopardizes access to health care in general, and reproductive health care in particular, in ways that are entirely unnecessary to protect individuals’ religious or moral convictions. In addition, the ACLU notes that because the regulation affects, in large part, health care services supported by federal funds, its impact will be felt most acutely by low-income individuals.

“If the administration ignores our call to protect patients’ access to vital health care services and information, it is once again permitting politics to trump the needs of millions of Americans,” said Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “At a time when more and more Americans are either uninsured or struggling with the soaring costs of health care, the federal government should be expanding, not hampering access to important health services.”

In addition to the comments that will be submitted tomorrow by the ACLU national office, more than 35 ACLU state affiliates submitted comments, and more than 40,000 individuals sent comments through the ACLU’s online service.

“The public outcry against the Bush administration’s proposed health care denial regulations warrants serious consideration by the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s time to put politics aside and put health care first,” Fredrickson added.

ACLU’s comments will be posted on

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