Bending the Old Rules

By Wapshott, Nicholas | New Statesman (1996), August 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Bending the Old Rules


Wapshott, Nicholas, New Statesman (1996)


After a storm of protests from abortion rights groups, the American health secretary, Michael Leavitt, has for the time being backed down from issuing a legally binding regulation that would have made contraception more difficult to obtain by redefining birth control pills, the "morning-after pill" and devices such as IUDs as forms of abortion.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Health workers already have the right, guaranteed by federal law, to decline to take part in abortions on the grounds of conscience. The proposed change in definition would have allowed them to legally deny contraception to patients as well.

"An early draft of the regulations found its way into public circulation before it had reached my review," Leavitt wrote in his blog on 11 August. "It contained words that lead some to conclude my intent is to deal with the subject of contraceptives, somehow defining them as abortion. Not true."

Leavitt's denial is the latest twist in what is believed by abortion rights and women's groups to be a last-gasp attempt by the Bush administration to accommodate the wishes of its conservative Christian supporters before the president hands over the White House to his successor in January.

Bush's appointment of conservatives to the Supreme Court has already led to a judgment outlawing most late-term abortions. It is the most significant restriction to date of the right of American women to obtain abortions, established by the 1973 landmark ruling Roe v Wade.

Despite his pronouncement, Leavitt is leaving the door open to issuing a regulation "directly focused on the protection of practitioner conscience". Many, including Hillary Clinton, believe this will be a back-door way of making it more difficult for Americans to obtain contraceptives. Clinton has demanded an urgent meeting with Leavitt to clarify his intentions.

Earlier this year, Leavitt responded to a letter sent by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The circular demanded that members who object to assisting in abortions refer patients "in a timely manner" to practitioners who do not have moral objections to terminating a pregnancy, or they would face expulsion.

Leavitt suggested that the bodies rethink their action, which could deny the legal right of anti-abortion medical practitioners to exercise their conscience, by making them assist in abortions through the act of referral. "In particular," he wrote, "I am concerned that such actions by these entities would violate federal laws against discrimination."

The two institutions did not budge. As Leavitt put it in his recent blog: "Frankly, I found their response to be dodgy and unsatisfying."

In response, Leavitt's officials issued a press release declaring: "Unless changes are made, physicians could be forced to refer patients for abortions even if it violates their conscience.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bending the Old Rules
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.