In its final hours, the Bush administration implemented a regulation expanding the right of medical professionals to abstain from practices they find objectionable. On Friday, the Obama administration moved to " review " and eventually repeal the regulation. Organizations on all sides of the debate issued press releases responding to Obama's move. This table tells you everything you need to know about the politics of the fight:
1. Mentions of "abortion":
Christian Medical and Dental Association
Family Research Council : 6
House Minority Leader John Boehner : 4
NARAL Pro-Choice America : 1
National Women's Law Center : 0
Center for Reproductive Rights : 0
Planned Parenthood Federation of America : 0
2. Mentions of "contraception" or "birth control":
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America : 1
Center for Reproductive Rights : 1
National Women's Law Center : 1
House Minority Leader John Boehner : 0
Family Research Council : 0
Christian Medical and Dental Association : 0
To sum up: The liberal groups don't want to mention that the regulation involves abortion, and the conservative groups don't want to mention that it also covers the right to withhold birth control. Why? Just look at the polls. As Rachel Laser of Third Way astutely puts it , "If the president kept in place the conscience clause in regard to abortion but reversed it in regard to birth control, most Americans would agree that's common ground." And that's exactly what the Obama administration aims to do, according to a Health and Human Services official who spoke to Reuters :
The wording was vague enough to let health professionals invoke the conscience clause for things like contraceptives, family planning and counseling for vaccines and blood transfusions, the agency official said. ... "We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to providing abortions. We want to ensure that current law protects them," the official said. "But we do not want to impose new limitations on services ... like family planning and contraception that would actually help prevent the need for an abortion in the first place."
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