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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.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Tait Sye, 202-973-4840


May 14, 2014