FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Women's Health Leader Commends Obama for First Step toward Rescission of Provider 'Conscience' Regulations
Ness Urges Administration to Take Further Action to Ensure that All Women have Access to Reproductive Health Care
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — February 27, 2009 — “Today, President Obama did the right thing by initiating the process to reverse the dangerous ‘conscience’ regulation that went into effect on the final day of the Bush Administration. This regulation is callous and unnecessary. If not repealed quickly, it will further undermine women’s access to reproductive health care including birth control — at a moment in time when it is critical that we increase, not limit, access to services, especially for low-income women and families whose options are already limited.
This pernicious rule gives health insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, physicians, and health care workers of all kinds a virtually unfettered ability to refuse to provide health services, information, and referrals that offend their religious beliefs or moral convictions. In doing so, the regulation not only threatens women’s access to vital reproductive health services but also upends the notion of informed consent — putting the onus on women to divine what information and services might be withheld by a provider.
We commend President Obama for taking this critical step to depoliticize women’s health. Today’s action toward rolling back this destructive regulation, in combination with the President’s reversal of the global gag rule, and the proposal in his FY2010 budget proposal to help states extend Medicaid family planning services to more low income women, will help women to access the health information and services they need.
But there is even more that can and must be done to improve access to high quality affordable health services and information — through health care reform, increased funding for Title X clinics, and de-funding of ineffective abstinence-only programs."
The National Partnership is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, fairness in the workplace, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.