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Hayashi acts to counter Bush’s ‘conscience rule’

Reacting to a new regulation issued last month by the departing Bush Administration to give new protections to health workers refusing to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring California woman have all the information and access they need to make reproductive choices including abortion.

“California licenses healthcare practitioners to ensure patient safety,” said Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. “The personal views of providers should not interfere with the reproductive rights of women and families.”

The Bush Administration’s regulation, which takes effect Monday, lets healthcare providers not only refuse to assist in abortion related activities, but may also withhold information and access to birth control and other family planning services. Hayashi’s AB 120, introduced Thursday, would require California doctors, nurses, and physician assistants to fully disclose all reproductive options to a patient and declares legislative intent that a healthcare licensee may not withhold services or information from a patient; failure to do so would be professional misconduct punishable by discipline from the appropriate state licensing board.

UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M. FRIDAY: I forgot to mention that California Attorney General Jerry Brown joined several other states’ attorneys general in filing a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt regarding this regulation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.