Saturday, January 17, 2009
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and ACLU Ask Court To Block Health Care Denial Rule
Via ACLU Press Release:
The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, today filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Bush administration's Health Care Denial Rule....
According to today's legal papers, the rule significantly undermines the ability of millions of women and men in the United States to access essential family planning, reproductive and other health care services and information. It expressly permits a broad range of health care workers and facilities to refuse to provide services, information, and counseling, potentially even in emergency situations. At the same time, it fails to require refusing providers to either notify their employers or their patients of their objections to providing care....
During a 30-day comment period, HHS received more than 200,000 comments; the overwhelming majority opposed the rule, including comments from major medical associations such as the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women's health organizations, members of Congress, state governors and attorneys general, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religious advocates, and the general public.
The final rule fails to address many of the concerns raised in these comments, including whether the rule prevents states from enforcing their own laws enacted to protect access to reproductive health care, whether the rule allows providers to refuse care even in emergency situations, and whether women seeking family planning services at federally funded health centers are still assured counseling for abortion care if they request it.
In addition to this legal challenge brought by NFPRHA, represented by the ACLU, the Connecticut Attorney General's Office and Planned Parenthood Federation of America with Planned Parenthood of Connecticut have filed separate legal challenges to the Bush rule.
The Department of Health and Human Services promulgated the rule on December 19, 2008; the rule is scheduled to go into effect on January 20, 2009.
The complaint is available at: www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/gen/38321lgl20090115.html
Read more about NFPRHA.