I, personally, am entirely convinced by the Health and Human Services Secretary blogging that the leaked draft regulation doesn’t have anything to do with contraception.
After all, redefining abortion to be possible before implantation (“any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”) based on, I kid you not, polling data (“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.’”) is totally innocent. Now, recently studies have indicated that oral hormonal contraception, even at emergency contraception levels, doesn’t seem to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, but I’m pretty damn sure that polling data would not reflect that research, so that’s easy to get around. Science always is. Heck, the regulations are about the conscience of health care workers, so what matters isn’t whether the patient’s contraceptives prevent implantation, but whether the health care worker feels they will.
The leaked document, by the way, is also worrying gay rights advocates who think the guidelines will allow health care workers to refuse treatment or medicine to gay and transgender patients based on their religious convictions. Woohoo!
Here is the leaked document in PDF, and the Washington Post’s original coverage. Thrill to such features as (quoting the later article I first linked) “a major section of the draft regulation titled ‘The Problem’ [that] cites state laws designed to make sure that women have access to birth control pills and Plan B.” Many of those laws are about emergency rooms providing emergency birth control to rape survivors. Isn’t it good to know our friendly
Gilead U.S. Government really cares about its handmaids female citizens?
Update, 8/23/08: The rule has been officially proposed. This is not just dangerous because it’s vague or because it redefines scientific terms by popularity contest. It’s dangerous because the officials who are supposed to care about and provide for people’s health in this country assume “that a patient could go to another provider”, in short are unconcerned about widening the healthcare gap and denying services to those who don’t have the coverage, time off work, or transportation money to go to another provider.