Well, it's official. The Obama administration has published a formal notice announcing its intention to repeal the Federal Refusal Rule, or what some anti-choice groups claim is a "conscience clause."
This rule, put in place in the closing days of the Bush administration, could allow insurance companies to deny claims for birth-control pill, hospitals to refuse emergency contraception to rape survivors, and employees at HMOs to refuse their patients information about and referrals for abortion care. If you're a Rachel Maddow fan like we are, you can check out a segment from her show that aired in December to learn more about just how dangerous this rule could be.
After enduring eight long, long years of unrelenting attacks on women's freedom and privacy from the anti-choice Bush administration, it's incredible to continue to receive good news from the Obama administration, and we should all take a moment to thank President Obama so that he knows he has the support of pro-choice America behind him.
Believe me; I understand that winning the election was a huge step forward - HUGE! - but right now, we need an activist's "conscience cause." That means that we have to act on our values and be partners in power in supporting a pro-choice president in the same way we helped elect him.
We're truly excited about the Obama administration's action to reverse the Federal Refusal Rule and other Bush-era policies like the repeal of the global gag rule, but we must stay involved. President Obama and his administration must hear from pro-choice Americans so that they know we support these actions and that we're watching, we're listening, we're engaged, and we're ready to act at a moment's notice.
What are the anti-choicers saying? Well, on March 4, notorious anti-choice Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), in an appearance on Fox News, used hysterics and hyperbole to falsely portray the effects of reversing the Federal Refusal Clause. Dr. Coburn - as he reminded Fox viewers - incorrectly compares the situation of doctors under Obama's proposed rule reversal to that of physicians coerced by the Chinese government to perform procedures to which they are opposed. This is a preposterous comparison, and in no way represents the truth. Doctors in America have had the right to opt out of providing abortion care, if they wish, nearly since Roe v. Wade was decided.
As an activist, do you want Coburn's outrageous statements going unanswered on your conscience? I didn't think so.
Don't give Coburn the floor. We're at the beginning of the 30-day public comment period for the repeal of this dangerous rule, and you can be a partner in power by leaving a comment... be it electronically, by regular mail, by express or overnight mail, or by hand or courier. For more detailed instructions, check out our blog. The deadline is April 9, 2009.