On Friday, the Obama administration rescinded the "conscience" rules, first instituted under the Bush administration, that granted protections to medical providers who refused to provide abortions, sterilization, in-vitro fertilization, and other medical procedures, such as care to AIDS patients, due to moral objections.
Under the "conscience" rules, hospitals could refuse to provide emergency contraception to rape victims and pharmacists could refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. In addition, the Bush administration rules stated that hospitals, clinics, and health plans that refused to honor workers' "right of conscience" could face a loss of federal funding.
Susan Berke Fogel, director of reproductive health at the National Health Law Center stated, "The 2008 regulation put millions of women at risk, and undermined the ability of providers to establish clear protocols to ensure that patients get the health care they need, by intentionally confusing birth control with abortion, and extending 'conscience rights' to an extremely broad group of health care workers - far beyond current law."
The revised law, which will go into effect in 30 days, will continue to allow doctors and nurses to refuse to provide abortions on religious or moral grounds.
Media Resources: National Women's Law Center 2/22/11; Washington Post 2/19/11; National Health Law Center Press Statement 2/18/11; New York Times 2/18/11; NPR 2/18/11; Wall Street Journal 2/18/11
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .