New Federal Reg Could Restrict Birth Control & Abortion Rights
Posted Aug 8, 2008 11:19 AM CDT
By Martha Neil
Traditionally, a human embryo has been defined as a fertilized egg that has latched onto the uterine wall. But a draft regulation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks to expand that definition to include fertilized eggs before they become embedded in the uterus.
Under that definition, millions of women could be considered to be having abortions if they use intrauterine devices and birth-control pills for contraception, reports Bloomberg columnist Ann Woolner in an opinion piece.
The new rule, which is billed as an effort to protect health care workers from participating in birth-control and abortion procedures to which they have personal moral or religious objections, could have "profound" effects on the availability of contraception and abortion to those who need it. It could prevent, for example, rape victims from getting emergency contraception even in states with laws that require it to be made available to them, Woolner says.
"The draft says without irony that its aim is to keep federal funds from paying for 'morally coercive or discriminatory practices,' " she writes. "And yet, the rule would let health professionals morally coerce patients who don't share their religious beliefs."
ABAJournal.com: "Proposed Reg Allows Health Workers to Opt Out of Birth Control, Abortions"