With only 156 days left in office, the Bush administration is advocating for a federal regulation expanding the definition of abortion to include contraceptive methods that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. Does the average person know what methods this includes? My guess is that many do not. This theory comes from sixteen years working with college students. When I ask college women if they know how their birth control pill prevents pregnancy, many are surprised when I tell them they don’t ovulate. The other contraceptives that prevent ovulation, like the pill, are the Nuvaring, Depo-Provera, and the birth control patch. The IUD (Intrauterine device), one of the oldest methods of birth control, does not prevent ovulation, but prevents a fertilized egg from implanting on the walls of the uterus, as does the Morning After Pill, a high dosage birth control taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
But the core of my commentary today isn’t to educate the readers about the various methods of birth control that stop fertilization. Instead, I want to explore this notion of a federal regulation. Federal regulations are rules enacted by federal agencies. Federal regulations are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Federal regulations generally are published in the Federal Register. When doing a quick internet search of federal regulations, I found www.regulations.gov. This website, “your voice in federal decision-making,” allows the average citizen to comment on regulations being proposed by various federal agencies, like the Department of Health and Human Services. I was neither successful in finding this proposed draft regulation nor clear on how these comments are reviewed nor taken into account and by whom. The only thing I know is that these department and agency heads are appointed by the President of the United States.
The abortion debate and when life begins is irrelevant to me if we have a system of government where regulations can be made that will gravely affect women’s rights to control their fertility outside of the democratic process that we so proudly espouse. Why is there nothing in the media addressing how these regulations are made and why they can be enacted and enforced outside of the regular democratic process?
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that in Bush’s last days in office he would choose to thwart the democratic process and continue to chip away at women’s rights instead of focusing on serious issues of the economy, the war in Iraq and the tragedy of global warming.http://www.heraldnews.com/opinions/x1835798082/COMMUNITY-VOICES-Regulations-thwart-democratic-process-08-16-08