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Planned Parenthood: HHS Secretary Leavitt Blogs, But Misses the Point

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today responded to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt’s blog post about a draft HHS rule that would jeopardize women’s access to quality, affordable basic health care.

"Secretary Leavitt's vague comments on the draft HHS rule do nothing to reassure Americans that the administration is not considering redefining abortion to include common forms of contraception, thereby jeopardizing women's access to basic health care,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “The administration needs to stop playing word games with women's health, and state clearly they will reject any regulations that will undermine women's access to basic health care."

Secretary Leavitt’s blog post comes after weeks of public attention and criticism of the draft HHS rule. After The New York Times first reported on the existence of the draft rule, PPFA sharply criticized it and raised awareness that the draft rule would jeopardize access to women’s health care. 

PPFA, along with 56 other medical, public health, religious, advocacy, and research groups submitted a letter to Secretary Leavitt strongly opposing the Department of Health and Human Services’ draft regulation that could significantly limit women’s access to basic reproductive health services, including some of the most common forms of birth control.

Several professional medical groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), also sent the administration letters opposing the draft HHS rule. 

Editorials from across the country, from the Boston Globe to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the Charlotte Observer, have spoken out against the draft HHS rule. 


Nearly 150 members of Congress have signed letters urging the Bush administration to reject this draft HHS rule, including Republican Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-IL), Michael Castle (R-DE), Chris Shays (R-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), and Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL).

Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Harry Reid (D-NV) are among nearly 30 Senators who signed a letter criticizing the draft rule


Last week, during a Kaiser Family Foundation session titled The Health Blogosphere: What it Means for Policy Debates and Journalism, Scott Swenson, a blogger from RH Reality Check, asked Secretary Leavitt directly about the draft HHS regulation. He declined to respond.

And just one day before Secretary Leavitt posted on his blog, PPFA sent an e-mail to thousands of supporters, urging them to write comments opposing the draft HHS rule on Secretary Leavitt’s blog. PPFA supporters responded with strong comments opposing the draft rule.

“At a time when more and more families are uninsured and under economic assault, any rule changes that deny women’s access to quality, affordable basic health care are simply unacceptable,” said Cecile Richards. “This proposed rule does nothing to address the real problem that 47 million Americans lack health insurance and millions of women can't afford basic family planning.”

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 880 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.



Contacts

Tait Sye, 202-973-4840

Published: 08.08.08

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