Just ahead of Congressional recess and no-news August, the White House has attempted to slip a completely outrageous policy through the Department of Health and Human Services. The new policy would provide "protection" for workers at federally funded health organizations who object to certain health services, like the provision of abortion or--here's the shocker--contraception, which is being defined in this policy as abortion.
Feeling crazy yet? Here's the brief:
The DHHS disburses federal funding to a variety of health care organizations, usually those that serve low-income people or specific health needs. Examples: dental clinics for those on Medicaid; immunization clinics for children who are required to receive certain shots to attend school; and, as is most relevant here, clinics that provide family planning services, like Planned Parenthood.
Federal regulations already prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion--either in the case of individual women using Medicaid to pay for an abortion OR a clinic receiving federal funds using those funds to pay for supplies or medical staff to perform abortions. Abortion services are paid for using state funds (if allowed by state law) or by private funding.
So since the use of federal funds for abortion services is already prohibited, why the new policy?
From the Washington Post:
The most controversial section defines abortion as "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."
That definition would include most forms of hormonal birth control and the IUD, which most major medical groups believe do not constitute abortion because they primarily affect ovulation or fertilization and not an embryo once it has implanted in the womb. (emphasis mine)
Got that? The policy is on its face intended to protect employees who feel they must object to certain procedures or medications. Fine. But why in sam hell would someone who is opposed to birth control choose to work at a family planning clinic? That's right--they wouldn't. The purpose of this policy is to attempt to define contraception as abortion. Don't buy it.
Click here to send a nasty letter to your representative and tell them this policy is unacceptable.