News Releases

Murray, Clinton Express Serious Concern On HHS Rule

Aug 21 2008

Senators Will Fight Any Administration Attempt to Turn Back the Clock on Women's Health

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), who led the Senate's efforts to preempt Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt's move to issue a rule that could have impacted access to comprehensive family planning for millions of American women, today decried HHS's decision to move forward with a modified rule that would put ideology over women’s health by putting in place barriers to receiving quality, affordable health care and scientifically-proven, accurate information for those who need it the most.

"It appears that the Bush administration is once again putting politics before public health. In issuing this rule Secretary Leavitt has ignored the requests of Congress and the needs of millions of American women," Senator Murray said.  "For eight years this administration has worked to undermine women's health – they won't get away with it on their way out the door."

"Make no mistake: the Bush Administration is threatening access to family planning options for women who need them most.  This is just one more example of the Bush Administration putting ideology ahead of science and women’s health.  We cannot allow the health and reproductive rights of women to be undermined and it is time for those who support women’s health to make our voices heard,” said Senator Clinton. 

On July 16, the Senators sent a letter urging Leavitt to drop the proposed rule.  A week later on July 22, they led a group of 28 Senators in sending yet another letter to the Secretary.  Secretary Leavitt still has not responded to either correspondence.  Following comments by Secretary Leavitt posted on his personal blog, Senators Clinton and Murray on August 8 called for a meeting with Secretary Leavitt to hear from him directly how HHS plans to ensure women continue to have access to basic healthcare.  Secretary Leavitt has not responded to their request.

Senators Murray and Clinton have worked tirelessly to stop efforts by the Bush Administration to put in place ideological barriers to women’s health.  They successfully led the fight to secure an administration decision on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B emergency contraception after more than three years of Administration delay.