Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Patty Murray never planned to enter politics, but today she’s serving her third term in the U.S. Senate as a member of the Democratic Leadership. From the U.S. Senator Patty Murray classroom to the Congress, Patty Murray has been an effective and tireless advocate for Washington’s working families. Originally known for her work on education and children’s issues, Murray has become a leading figure on transportation, border and port security, healthcare, economic development and veteran's issues.
Dear Mr. Thomas:
Thank you for writing me about the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) proposed rule regarding reimbursement to facilities that offer contraception. It is good to hear from you.
As you may know, on July 15, 2008, the New York Times reported that HHS is drafting a rule that would require all recipients of aid under federal health programs to certify that they will not refuse to hire health care professionals who object to abortion. This proposal contains an ill-considered, overbroad definition of abortion, defining it as "any of the various procedures.that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation." This definition would allow health-care corporations or individuals to classify many common forms of contraception, including the birth control pill and emergency contraception, as "abortions." This definition would allow these health professionals to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.
I am extremely concerned about this proposal's potential to affect millions of women's reproductive health. It is a poorly veiled attempt to rollback women's health care options before the current Administration leaves office. Instead of undercutting access to contraception and family planning services, the Bush Administration should be putting prevention first. You will be pleased to know that I have joined my colleagues in sending letters to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on two separate occasions, urging him to abandon plans to formulate such a rule.
Rest assured, I will continue to fight this misguided plan to put in place new obstacles for women accessing family planning services and as I do, I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me about this issue. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates. Please keep in touch.
I hope all is well in Allyn.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray