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FEATURE | fall 2008

UPDATE: Bush’s lame-duck rule change could funnel millions more to CPCs

The Bush administration is planning an 11th-hour rule change that could open a new spigot of government money to “crisis pregnancy centers”—fake, anti-choice clinics whose mission is to convince pregnant women not to have abortions (see Ms., fall 2008).

The proposed regulation, pending action by Bush’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt, would give health care workers the “right to refuse” to provide women abortion referrals, unbiased counseling and even--depending on interpretation--birth control. Not only would this mean that U.S. women were no longer guaranteed full information from their health care providers, but, according to reproductive rights group SEICUS, it could also open up federal Title X funding—the bread-and-butter of comprehensive family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood—to CPCs. Currently, Title X funding is reserved for clinics that provide women full, unbiased counseling about their reproductive options.

If made available to CPCs, Title X dollars would join the millions of dollars that CPCs rake in already from federal abstinence-only and marriage-promotion pots. Competition from CPCs has already caused some full-service clinics to scale back, says Bill Smith, vice president for public policy at SEICUS.

Feminists have spoken out loudly against the proposed regulations since they were first leaked this summer. In September, 28 senators—including Barack Obama and Joe Biden—signed a letter to Leavitt opposing the rule change. Yet there is no sign of wavering from the White House, and the change is expected to be put into effect imminently.

READ MORE about CPCs and how they target college students with anti-choice counseling that is often medically inaccurate.

Check out additional resources:  www.feministcampus.org – Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics