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Monday, October 22, 2012

WOMEN'S HEALTH PROGROM GAG RULE DEFEATED

Responding to strong opposition from TMA and state specialty societies, Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek, MD, pulled the gag clause from rules governing the state’s redesigned Women’s Health Program. As proposed by Commissioner Janek’s predecessor, the rule would have prohibited a participating physician from discussing abortion with a patient. The new rule still prohibits Women’s Health Program funds from going to a physician or provider who promotes or performs abortion, but the definition of “promote” was revised to exclude “neutral, factual information and nondirective counseling.” TMA President Michael Speer, MD, praised the change. “It is very important that patients are able to trust that their doctor is giving the best medical advice for them — based on their medical needs and nothing else,” he said. TMA remains concerned for the program’s long-term viability — and for the women it serves — as the state next month tries to run the program on its own without $35 million a year in federal funding.

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