States, Planned Parenthood Sue to Reverse Bush Abortion Protections for Docs
by Steven Ertelt
January 15, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The attorneys general of seven states and leading pro-abortion groups have filed a lawsuit against the new pro-life protections the Bush administration recently put in place. The "Provider Conscience Rule" provides more enforcement for laws protecting medical centers and professionals who don't want to do abortions.
The new rule, which requires medical facilities to affirm in writing that they won't force staff to participate in abortions and potentially denies federal funding for centers or governments that do, is slated to take effect January 20.
The protections merely provide additional enforcement for existing laws, some of which have been on the books for decades, that allow medical professionals to avoid involvement in abortions.
Led by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, six states filed suit today against the new rule claiming that it allows medical centers and staff to deny women birth control, including the morning after pill.
Blumenthal says he sued because he believes the new rules will override a state law that forces all hospitals and medical centers to provide the morning after pill to victims of sexual abuse.
State officials in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island also joined in the suit.
The suit is the second to target the new conscience protections as a collection of pro-abortion groups, including the ACLU, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America have also sued.
The lawsuit names the Department of Health and Human Services as a defendant, seeks an immediate injunction to prevent the conscience protections from going into effect. It also argues for their overturning claiming they violate federal law, women's rights and states' rights to enforce their own laws.
Blumenthal talked with the Hartford Courant newspaper about the suit.
"On its way out, the Bush Administration has left a ticking legal time bomb set to explode literally the day of the inaugural and blow apart vital constitutional rights and women's health care," Blumenthal claimed.
A recent survey found half of doctors support the new protections.
A new national study among 1,736 physicians conducted by HCD Research reveals 50 percent of physicians support the new rules. Just 33 percent oppose the rules and the rest had no opinion.
Abortion advocates, including incoming president Barack Obama, are also expected to use one of three methods to reverse the protections for medical staff.
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