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Last Minute Push for New Abortion and Contraception Rules

November 28, 2008

West Bloomfield, MI - The deadline was midnight tonight, but the White House pushed it back 30 days hoping to finalize a last minute gift to anti-abortion supporters.

An abortion debate has ignited in the waning hours of the Bush Administration, as the president seeks new rules to deny federal funding to medical centers that require employees to participate in abortion procedures against their religious or moral beliefs. It could include birth control, if the person believes using contraception is tantamount to abortion.

Members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have been quoted as saying the new rule is unnecessary, as employees already have adequate protection.

Some pro-choice leaders, including Michigan's National Organization for Women President Renee Beeker, say the real issue is access to healthcare. Beeker, who is a mother of six, says her research indicates that other nations have adopted more practical policies to reduce abortion rates.

"If they left this as an issue between women and their physicians, and there was easy access to birth control, you'd probably find you wouldn't have such need for abortion. I believe if people in this country looked at other countries, where women have easy access to contraception, you'll find abortion is extremely low."

However, it's a topic that triggers a range of strong emotions. For that reason, Beeker believes the Bush Adminstration may be using it, at least in part, to try to shift attention away from the economy.

Even if the controversial rule change takes place, Congress could reverse it through a Congressional Review Act. In addition, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have already introduced legislation to prevent the rule change.

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI