Bush Doctrine applied to Healthcare…By-passing Roe V. Wade and more?

Just read this Op-Ed burried deep in the New York Times written by Hillary Clinton and Cecile Richards (President, Planned Parenthood of America), [update: it is now #2 in the ‘Most Emailed’ List…!] published on September 18, 2008 – Those of us perusing the paper daily are the lucky ones to find this content or even know what goes on behind governments’ closed doors.  For the rest of America (not just women) being duped by the likes of ‘women for women’, aka Sarah Palin, they may not be so lucky to have access to this kind of news.

It is astonishing to me that these Regulations which have been proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on August 21, 2008 have slipped the public commentary’s radar and the completely uninterested MSM who are driven to satify their viewership, and take cues from the shrewd & savvy politicians’ press releases with topic meta tags like “pigs, lipstick, pitbulls and hockey moms’.  While the circus perfoms in town, the most important issues facing Americans during this election and their futures either go completely unreported, never even highlighted in the 24-hour news cycles or considered ‘un-juicy’ for the average American’s taste.  It seems ludicrous to hope that we’d want to ask our American nation to set its standards…higher?

With this new rule, the latest ideology push by the Bush Administration seeks to undermine your right as a patient, woman, family – and put the medical provider’s conscience and personal beliefs BEFORE yours.  The same medical physicians and providers whom we the people look to for an unbiased and best source of medical advice and information will be able to either deny you particular medical treatment or not fully disclose any option you possibly could have.

When someday ‘down home mama’s’ 16 year old daughter who had just been raped by some ‘ethnic’ man, is raced to the hospital and as she is being treated, is told that the physician tending to her daughter cannot in his ‘conscience’ administer emergency contraceptive medication to her, what could she do?

Six weeks down the road if she took her daughter to another clinic and wanted to now have her daughter get an abortion, and this doctor now said, “I’m sorry, my beliefs and conscience do not permit me to perform this procedure”, then what could she do?

A 27 year old man goes to his physician, visibly sick and asks for an HIV test.  His physician tells him, “I’m sorry, but I cannot test you for AIDs or HIV because I cannot see myself treating a homosexual patient”.  What can he do?

Your 3 year old son has a rare form of leukemia.  Your doctor cannot bear to see this child be put through rigorus trial medical treatment which she feels may not cure your child, so she says there is nothing medically she can do (it goes against her conscience).  What about you, the parent?  Wouldn’t you want to give your child every bit of hope and chance to live??  If you were told there was no chance, but medically there could be, would you not be up in arms and demanding your child’s right to live be met???  What could you do?

Get up and make your voice be heard.  Call your Congressperson.  Call the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.  Write to the President.  Write to your local Representatives. 

People, this is a glimpse of the America we are already becoming part of and headed if this political circus does not leave town.  Most Americans and those ‘at large’ not living near the metropoles, coasts and larger cities, haven’t a clue.  At the risk of sounding blunt, those of us who can read, think, write, speak, blog, opinionate and care about the U.S. Constitution, better get up and start doing more of it. 

And this plea applies to not only issues of health care or womens rights –  just look at our current state of the economy, international relations and energy challenges we’re facing as a nation.  Our Presidential elections should not be about the personas and who puts up a better performance – as some columnist recently put it aptly, “We’re not voting for the American Idol”…well, for most Americans, sadly it does seem that way.

This election means too much for all of us – not just ‘working America’. If you want to do something, call your local Office of the Registrar of Voting or go to ‘Rock the Vote’s Site and register to vote and find 10 others who haven’t registered – your colleagues, fellow moms, your child’s teacher, custodians, your local deli counter guy, the mechanic, your landscaper, the cleaning lady, your parents, aunts, friends, old college friends….Good Luck!

[NOTE: The public’s comment period ends September 25th, 2008 – so you’d have to act fast.  Here is a link to the Regulation:

The display at the Federal Register today triggers a 30-day public comment period. Administration officials will review the comments as they work to implement a final regulation. The proposed regulation is available at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2008pres/08/20080821reg.pdf]

[For those who don’t access the NYT Online, here is the Op-Ed piece in its entirety]:

Op-Ed Contributor

Blocking Care for Women

 

Published: September 18, 2008

LAST month, the Bush administration launched the latest salvo in its eight-year campaign to undermine women’s rights and women’s health by placing ideology ahead of science: a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning. It would require that any health care entity that receives federal financing — whether it’s a physician in private practice, a hospital or a state government — certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable.

Laws that have been on the books for some 30 years already allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further, ensuring that all employees and volunteers for health care entities can refuse to aid in providing any treatment they object to, which could include not only abortion and sterilization but also contraception.

Health and Human Services estimates that the rule, which would affect nearly 600,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care providers, would cost $44.5 million a year to administer. Astonishingly, the department does not even address the real cost to patients who might be refused access to these critical services. Women patients, who look to their health care providers as an unbiased source of medical information, might not even know they were being deprived of advice about their options or denied access to care.

The definition of abortion in the proposed rule is left open to interpretation. An earlier draft included a medically inaccurate definition that included commonly prescribed forms of contraception like birth control pills, IUD’s and emergency contraception. That language has been removed, but because the current version includes no definition at all, individual health care providers could decide on their own that birth control is the same as abortion.

The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified “other medical procedures” that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of “other medical procedures.” Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider’s conscience. But where are the protections for patients?

The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule runs until Sept. 25. Everyone who believes that women should have full access to medical care should make their voices heard. Basic, quality care for millions of women is at stake.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democratic senator from New York. Cecile Richards is the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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