Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General, Joined By 15 States, Calls On Feds To Rescind Rule Jeopardizing Access To Emergency Contraception

April 13, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced formal comments supporting a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' that would rescind a Bush administration regulation that jeopardizes women's access to vital medical services, including emergency contraception.

The Provider Conscience Regulation -- a midnight regulation by the Bush Administration -- undercuts Connecticut's contraception laws and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal public health money.

Blumenthal, on behalf of Comptroller Nancy Wyman and Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo, sued the federal government in January to block the rule. Seven other states joined Blumenthal's lawsuit.

Shortly after Blumenthal filed his lawsuit, the new Obama administration filed a proposed rule that would rescind Bush's Provider Conscience Rule.

Blumenthal today announced formal comments -- signed by a total of 16 states, including Connecticut, and filed with HHS -- to support the Obama administration's proposed rule to rescind the overbroad Provider Conscience Rule, even while Blumenthal continues to pursue legal action to block the rule.

"This rule harms women, families, victims of sexual assault, and compromises states' rights to enforce their own laws mandating access to reproductive health services -- and without providing any new meaningful conscience protections for health care providers," Blumenthal said.

"This rule deserves to be dismantled -- and I commend the Obama administration for taking this historic step toward preserving profoundly significant health care rights for women.

"Even as the Obama administration seeks to rescind this rule, I will continue our court battle until this regulation is finally and safely stopped. At stake are carefully crafted and balanced state measures like Connecticut's protecting patients and women, particularly rape victims who may require immediate access to emergency contraceptive care.

"Until officially rescinded, this rule endangers women's health care -- perniciously shrouding the term abortion in new and unnecessary ambiguity and encouraging each individual to define it and possibly deny virtually all forms of contraception, even emergency contraception to rape victims. Individual beliefs should be respected, but should not determine whether vital health care is available."

States that joined Connecticut's comments are: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.