Bring It On!

Bush Administration To Define Contraception As Abortion?

July 20th, 2008 | by Daniel DiRito |

As if it isn’t bad enough that we’ve had to endure nearly eight years of George W. Bush, he has chosen his final months to enact one of his most intrusive policy initiatives. It seems that the president has decided to redefine abortion to include contraception. The plan would be enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and cloaked as an attempt to prevent discrimination in government funded endeavors.

The explanation being offered by the president’s operatives suggests that the goal is to insure that those individuals who have religious objections to abortion or the distribution of contraceptive products cannot be terminated from employment. Unfortunately, the administration wants to ignore the fact that such practices are already prohibited under current federal law.

From ABC News:

The draft proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which began circulating around Capitol Hill earlier this week, would withhold government funds from health-care providers and organizations that don’t hire people who refuse to perform abortions or provide certain types of birth control.

Current federal law prohibits health-care providers and organizations from discriminating against people who won’t provide abortions or birth control.

The Bush administration’s new draft proposal would require these agencies to certify in writing their compliance with the law before getting funding from HHS.

Critics say the proposal would limit women’s access to birth control, arguing that it includes “an overly-broad definition of abortion” and that in order to receive government funding agencies might have to hire employees who won’t perform every-day job responsibilities due to their personal religious beliefs.

The Health department released a brief statement arguing that it’s looking into various options in an effort to enforce anti-discrimination laws.

“Over the past three decades, Congress has passed several anti-discrimination laws to protect institutional and individual health care providers participating in federal programs. HHS has an obligation to enforce these laws, and is exploring a number of options,” the statement reads.

The White House declined to comment.

This is the same administration that has long argued that hate crimes legislation, intended to specifically deter violence against the LGBT community, is unnecessary. So when it comes to measures to bolster the safety of gays, existing laws are sufficient because they already provide penalties and punishment for these crimes. However, when a handful of Christians want to refuse to provide contraception to a rape victim, the Bush administration thinks special rules are warranted.

I guess I’ve finally figured out what the president meant when he stated he was a compassionate conservative. He meant he had compassion for conservatives…and to hell with everyone else. Pardon my disgust, but the self-proclaimed uniter is a garden-variety divider.

Fortunately, a number of Democrats have spoken out against this potential rule change.

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Bush administration plan to define several widely used contraception methods as abortion is a “gratuitous, unnecessary insult” to women and faces tough opposition, Sen. Hillary Clinton said on Friday.

The former Democratic presidential candidate joined family planning groups to condemn the proposal that defines abortion to include contraception such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices.

It would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states where medical providers are obligated to offer legal abortion and contraception to women.

“We will not put up with this radical, ideological agenda to turn the clock back on women’s rights,” the New York senator told a joint news conference with New York Rep. Nita Lowey, also a Democrat, at Bellevue Hospital.

“Women would watch their contraceptive coverage disappear overnight,” said Clinton.

A copy of a memo that appears to be an Department of Health and Human Services draft provided to Reuters this week carries a broad definition of abortion as any procedures, including prescription drugs, “that result in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

Conception occurs when egg and sperm unite in the Fallopian tubes. It takes three to four days before the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. Several birth control methods interfere with this, including the birth control pill and IUDs.

“If enacted, these rules will make birth control out of reach for some women. That’s a sure way to guarantee more unintended pregnancies and more abortions,” said Anne Davis of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

Without doubt, this is another back door effort to impose the religious beliefs of George Bush and his minions…and to begin the process of putting an end to funding for Planned Parenthood and any other organization remotely construed to provide abortion services. When George Bush suggested that he opposed Roe v. Wade, but didn’t think the country was ready to take that step, he was actually telegraphing his intentions to undercut abortion through other means. Only then, when access is virtually impossible (unless one is rich and has a daughter in trouble), would he seek to overturn the long standing Supreme Court ruling.

Frankly, as awful as this may sound, I’ve come to see many evangelicals as arrogant and pompous manipulators. Always scheming to find the means to instill their values as the law of the land, they have little regard for the beliefs of others…and how could they since their ideology is utterly intransigent. At the same time, they often excuse their indiscretions or dismiss them as part of their own period of darkness. What they rarely recognize is that the demons they fear reside within. Railing against pornography, sex on television, comprehensive sex education (inclusive of contraception), homosexuality, infidelity, and adultery is simply the demonstration of an external response to their own internal urges and inclinations.

At the same time, they assume that everyone else in the society suffers the same affliction…which leads them to believe that legislation is needed to prevent us from doing what we’re apt to do absent laws and punishment.

The following video is an example of this mentality. Joe Sweeney is a candidate for congress in Arizona’s 7th. district. Note that his view of sex is that it’s a function of “genital drives” that needs to be bridled through the marriage contract and in deference to a higher authority. The construct he describes is consistent with the actions of the Bush administration. In other words, at the core of this ideology, it’s acceptable to prohibit the government from participating in any action that can be deemed to promote sex for any reason other than procreation.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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  1. 16 Responses to “Bush Administration To Define Contraception As Abortion?”

  2. By manapp99 on Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

    While I disagree that contraception is the same as abortion, I realize that there are millions of Americans that do. I do not think they should be discriminated against due to beliefs they hold that are different than my own.

    Not everyone who opposes abortion does so out of religious beliefs. I am one who opposes abortion due to human rights beliefs. Even though I attend no church and subscribe to no religion I oppose the intrusion on another humans basic right to exist, even if they are not yet born.

    Statements such as this:

    “Without doubt, this is another back door effort to impose the religious beliefs of George Bush and his minions…”

    Painting with a broad brush never paints and accurate picture.

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

    Does it prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and developing? If it does, it’s an abortifacient; if it doesn’t, it isn’t. Simple. For example, IUDs are purely abortifacient. They don’t prevent fertilization; they prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. IUDs are, therefore, not contraceptives since they don’t prevent conception.

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

    Imagine that. Bush has the audacity to define as an abortifacient anything that interferes with the continuation of a pregnancy and prematurely brings it to an end. ‘Abortafacient’, of course, is defined as “causing the premature termination of a pregnancy.” I, for one, am shocked to find that Bush even HAS a dictionary, let alone that he knows how to define abortifacient — I bet he can’t pronounce it.

    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, apparently could use a good dictionary. She seems to think an IUD is a contraceptive.

  5. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

    As for whether Hillary is right when she says, “The majority of Americans oppose this out-of-touch position that redefines contraception as abortion and represents a sustained pattern of the Bush administration to reject medical and sound science in favor of a misguided ideology that has no place in our government[]” I couldn’t say but know what? I’d be willing to bet a shiny new nickel that she’s wrong — quite aside from the nonsense of her own redefinition of an IUD as a contraceptive.

  6. By Chris Radulich on Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

    with any luck this could be another nail in the republican coffin.

  7. By deBeauxOs on Jul 21, 2008 | Reply

    Wow! That’s a good connection to make. No anti-hate laws to protect those who are the target of the haters, but lookee here, a law to protect the haters’ rights to be fully employed in areas where they can hurt those they hate.

  8. By Paul Merda on Jul 21, 2008 | Reply


    Are you saying that a majority of Americans would like to see these “abortfacients” regulated or even banned??? That I doubt tremendously. Most Americans don’t discriminate against one form of birth control or another…other than an outright abortion (I said most BTW). I hear what you are saying by splitting the definitions and calling one a contraceptive and the others abortofacients, but Americans generally just call them Birth Control and move on. Sure some of the more religious know the difference and probably have a few children they didn’t plan on.

  9. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    Paul M.,

    I said I question whether they would oppose defining a device or substance that causes a premature ending to an existing pregnancy as an abortifacient. That is, after all, the definition of the word.

    As for being regulated, apparently, they are already regulated, as they should be.

    As for banning, no one as far as I can tell is talking about banning them.

    As for definitions, how my fellow citizens define these words, that is of little importance to me. Sure I’d like them to understand the distinctions but, really, that is of little importance to me. Most people use language so loosely that they barely say what they really mean most of the time to such a degree that it’s a wonder anyone makes themselves understood. My complaint was with Hillary Clinton.

    When the average Joe misuses language, it’s of little consequence. When a legislator misuses language, terribly muddled laws result and no one benefits from muddled laws. But in this instance, my only complaint is that she apparently can not distinguish between a contraceptive and an abortifacient. It’s odd to be pointing out that Bush is correct and that Clinton is either misinformed (which I don’t believe) or deliberately misusing language for rhetorical and political effect. It’s usually the other way around. That’s all.

    About the policy, however, I haven’t said a word.

  10. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    And I would point out that I wasn’t willing to bet more than a nickel on it, in any case but if they thoroughly understood all the distinctions and the issues under discussion, I’m still willing to bet that they don’t see Bush’s definition as out of touch. Certainly it’s not out of touch with the dictionary.

  11. By deBeauxOs on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    I find it absolutely fascinating to read the mendacious and pompous posturing of a man for whom determining whether a particular approach to preventing an unintended pregnancy is abortifacient or contraceptive is purely academic.

    If you have any compassion - which I doubt, given the tone of your diatribe - imagine yourself in the body of a woman holding down 2 part-time jobs while her husband juggles 4 part-time jobs, with 4 children under the age of 16 - your main issues with preventing another pregnancy might be: Does it work? Can I afford it? Is it safe?

    If people want to be preached at, they can choose to go to church. Where’s the choice, if they have to be subjected to the pseudo-scientific rantings of someone whose religious beliefs inform them that “The Pill Kills”?

  12. By Paul Merda on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    I get it Craig….

  13. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    Hey, pompous I cop to. Mendacious? Wherein have I been in the least deceptive, dishonest; false or untrue? What I’ve done is define words accurately. I’ve drawn distinctions according to those accurate definitions.

    I haven’t said anyone can’t get an abortion for any reason they want so please tell me where your perception of my lack of empathy is relevant.

    Preached at? Hey, I’m a former preacher. Trust me. I have not yet begun to preach. I’ve engaged in an analysis which any thinking person should engage in before he or she begins using words (like ‘mendacious’, for example) to be read by others.

  14. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    But any time I can fascinate a reader, I’m flattered to be told so. So thank you.

  15. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

    Of course, when I cop to ‘pompous’, one must engage in the same definitional analysis as I’ve done above. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 defines ‘pompous’ as an adjective which means: “Displaying pomp; stately; showy with grandeur; magnificent”…or, well, that’s the definition to which I refer when I cop to being pompous, particularly that last! ;-)

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