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Update: Representatives Diana DeGette and Louise Slaughter lead other U.S. House members in taking a stand to block the dangerous HHS proposed regulation from becoming final by introducing companion legislation.

Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund applauds Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray for their effort to block the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from issuing a midnight regulation that would put women’s access to basic health care in jeopardy with the introduction of the Protecting Patients and Health Care Act. The legislation recognizes that, with this sweeping regulation, HHS exceeded its authority under the statutes it is claiming to interpret.

“This pending health care refusal regulation poses a serious threat to a woman’s ability to trust that she is getting complete and accurate health care information and services,” said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards.  “Senators Clinton and Murray are true champions of women’s health, and their proposed legislation sends a strong signal to administrative agencies that Congress will not stand by as those agencies try to slip in ill-conceived midnight regulations.”

The proposed regulation would allow providers, based on their personal biases, to withhold both services and the critical information women need to make fully informed decisions about their health care. HHS submitted its proposed rule in late August 2008, and is in violation of a White House directive to administrative agencies to finalize all proposed regulations by November 1, 2008. During the 30-day public comment period, roughly 200,000 comments were submitted in opposition to this regulation from medical associations, women’s health organizations, members of Congress, state governors and attorneys general, religious leaders, and the general public.

This week, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget, urging OIRA to take its responsibilities seriously with respect to HHS. 

Read Representatives DeGette and Representative Slaughter Press Release on Protecting Patients and Health Care Act.