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Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds the Obama administration for proposing a rule to rescind a Bush midnight regulation that undermines the country’s ailing health care system as well as patients’ access to health care information and services.

“This proposed rule clearly states that the Obama administration is committed to putting patients’ care first,” said Cecile Richards, president of PPFA. “As was made clear at the White House Summit on Health Care yesterday, we should be working together to increase, not hinder, access to care. Patients, especially low- income women, deserve access to complete and accurate health care information and services and today’s action shows that this administration understands and will meet this need. This is a commonsense fix.” 

The proposed rule, posted on the Office of the Federal Register’s website, reads in part, “The Department is proposing to rescind in its entirety the final rule entitled ‘Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law,’ published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2008 (73 FR 78072, 45 CFR Part 88).

“Commenters asserted that the rule would limit access to patient care and raised concerns that individuals could be denied access to services, with effects felt disproportionately by those in rural areas or otherwise underserved. The Department believes that the comments on the August 2008 proposed rule raised a number of questions that warrant further careful consideration. It is important that the Department have the opportunity to review this regulation to ensure its consistency with current Administration policy.”

The next step in the rule-making process is allowing for public comment. Planned Parenthood urges supporters to comment on the rule and show their support for this proposed rule. The public can post their comments via www.PlannedParenthood.org

In addition, Planned Parenthood is using the latest technology to get the word out and encourage supporters to comment on the rule, including text messaging, social networking, and Twitter.

When the Bush administration proposed the rule, opposition was wide ranging — from citizens, patients and consumers to federal and state elected officials, medical organizations, health care advocacy groups and religious organizations.

Comments opposing the misguided rule included:
-a bipartisan coalition of more than 150 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 attorneys general, including those from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont 
-state legislators from a number of states, including Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin
-nongovernmental organizations ranging from the American Nurses Association, the American Medical Association, the American Social Health Association, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and several prominent HIV/AIDS, international health, and gay rights organizations.

In addition, the legal counsel and two commissioners from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also submitted comments, explaining that the rule creates unnecessary confusion for the nearly 600,000 health care facilities it reaches.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Tait Sye or Brannon Jordan, 202-973-4882


March 06, 2009