From the "You've got to be shitting me!" wing of national politics, the ACLU is calling out lawmakers who seem to have their heads up their butts again.
In a press release, the ACLU (which exists in order to watch out for and protect our civil liberties, those inconvenient things that keep getting in the way of things like racism, sexism and wire tapping) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a draft proposal of new regulations that “could dramatically limit women's access to birth control.”
“In response, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) have written a letter to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of HHS, urging him to revise these regulations before they are finalized,” says the press release.
These draft regulations could:
• limit access to birth control for millions of women across the country,
• allow insurance companies and health care practices to refuse to educate about or give access to birth control and
• allow organizations to receive federal family planning funding that don't provide access to or information about birth control.
The new regulations would try to redefine abortion — apparently we’re all too stupid to know that. So here’s what the proposal says:
“Abortion: An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. There are two commonly held views on the question of when a pregnancy begins. Some consider a pregnancy to begin at conception (that is, the fertilization of the egg by the sperm), while others consider it to begin with implantation (when the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus). A 2001 Zogby International American Values poll revealed that 49% of Americans believe that human life begins at conception. Presumably many who hold this belief think that any action that destroys human life after conception is the termination of a pregnancy, and so would be included in their definition of the term ‘abortion.’ Those who believe pregnancy begins at implantation believe the term ‘abortion’ only includes the destruction of a human being after it has implanted in the lining of the uterus.”
If public opinion polls were to determine federal policies, marijuana would be legal and we’d probably have a three-day work week. That “values poll” thing is bad enough, but there’s more.
“Because the statutes that would be enforced through this regulation seek, in part, to protect individuals and institutions from suffering discrimination on the basis of conscience, the conscience of the individual or institution should be paramount in determining what constitutes abortion, within the bounds of reason. As discussed above, both definitions of pregnancy are reasonable and used within the scientific and medical community. The Department proposes, then, to allow individuals and institutions to adhere to their own views and adopt a definition of abortion that encompasses both views of abortion.”
First of all, “abortion” isn’t a medical term. It’s a political term. Ask any doctor to point to the section of a medical text describing a medical procedure called “abortion,” and she’ll tell you that’s not possible.
Then there’s the idea that a federal agency can give a “pass” to people who don’t want to do part of their job.
This latest absurdity follows on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that birth control coverage can't be denied by an insurance company dispensing Viagra to help men get it up. Since this ruling, some women still can’t get their birth control prescriptions filled.
Considering that anything related to reproductive health has been politicized and hijacked by extremists, this really isn’t all that surprising. But what’s the point of the federal government going into the medicine cabinet of more than half the population — yes, women now outnumber men in this country — and messing with a woman’s medication? As of when did the federal government establish birth policies?
That last one was rhetorical. We all know how that happened.
But if you want to stop conservative politicians and religious types from deciding medical decisions for you, your sister, your daughter, your wife, your mother or anyone other female, please take some time to use the ACLU Web links and tell legislators to stay the hell out of your bedroom and bathroom.
Click here to read the letter and accompanying news release on Sen. Murray's Web site.
Contact your senators by phone or filling out their Web forms and urge them to sign on to the Murray/Clinton letter and protect women's access to birth control.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
Ohio Sen. George Voinovich
Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell
Then let the ACLU know when you've contacted your senator and whether or not you receive a response. They can be reached at 216-472-2200 or email@example.com.
— Margo Pierce