Here’s another last minute rule change by the Bush Administration that was challenged by states including New Jersey in court late last week:
The attorneys general of Connecticut and six other states filed suit in federal court Thursday seeking to block the implementation of a controversial Bush administration rule they say would limit women’s access to contraceptives.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the regulation last month, saying it is needed to protect healthcare workers against discrimination by their employers if they decline to participate in abortions or other practices that violate their religious, moral or ethical beliefs.
This is what the Connecticut Attorney General had to say about why they filed the suit:
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) filed the lawsuit along with his counterparts in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island in U.S. district court in Connecticut. They seek an immediate injunction against HHS implementing and enforcing the regulation.
“On his way out, the Bush administration has left a ticking legal time bomb set to explode literally the same day of the Inaugural and blow apart vital constitutional rights and women’s healthcare,” Blumenthal said on a conference call with reporters.
And some of the problems people have with the new regulations:
Among opponents’ numerous complaints about the regulation is that it does not explicitly define abortion, which they say could permit healthcare workers to deny birth control to women or even emergency contraceptive “morning-after pills” to rape victims.
They say the regulation is too broad and could be interpreted to apply to any employee at a medical facility, not just physicians, nurses and other practitioners.
In addition, opponents contend that these employees would not be required to refer patients to providers who would offer the relevant services and could even turn patients away without notifying their own supervisors.
If the regulation isn’t blocked by the court, it would take effect tomorrow. In that case, the Obama Administration or Congress would have to make regulatory or legislative changes to the policy.