Health Care Mandate Requires Coverage of Abortion Drugs
The Obama Administration has announced a new federal health care mandate that will require all health insurance plans in the United States to cover abortion-inducing drugs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is implementing the mandate under
the provisions of President Obama's federal health care legislation. It will require that all health insurance policies pay for free contraception without co-pays or co-insurance , including every "birth control" drug or device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
This means that every health insurance plan will cover abortifacients such as Ella and Plan B, often marketed as so-called "emergency contraceptives", or "morning-after pills." While these drugs may function as contraceptives, they also operate as abortifacients. Ella and Plan B act to break down the lining of the uterus so that it is either unreceptive to implantation by a fertilized ovum, or unable to sustain an implanted embryo.
The contraceptive mandate is the result of an anti-life amendment added to the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" by rabidly pro-abortion Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. That amendment empowered the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services to determine what "preventative health care services" would be required as basic coverage in all health insurance plans. Mikulski made clear at the time that her intention was to include so-called "reproductive health care," code words for abortion services.
Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life says the new mandate violates the conscience rights of all Americans. "No American will be able to choose an insurance plan that does not include the abortion-inducing drug Ella. That drug will be part of the health care coverage that every American will be forced to buy. Despite the fact that Ella can kill a human embryo even after implantation, the Food and Drug
Administration has labeled the drug as emergency contraception."
Jeanne Monahan, Director of the Center for Human Dignity of the Family Research Council, strongly condemned the new health care mandate. "The conscience rights of millions of Americans will be violated, including issuers of plans, providers who contract with such plans, and Americans who will pay for the cost of such services."
"There are no conscience protections for health care plans that object to such coverage, or for health care providers in insurance plan networks who object to prescribing such drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services should focus on items and services that prevent actual diseases, and not include controversial services just to placate the abortion industry."
Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration allowed Planned Parenthood to play a leading role in formulating the new requirements. Planned Parenthood was invited by the Institute of Medicine to help the agency develop its so-called "evidence-based" recommendations.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed strong opposition to the contraceptive requirement. "Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible," says Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. "We can only conclude that there is an ideology at work that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children."
DiNardo is right. The primary purpose of contraception is not to treat any disease or illness, but to prevent the creation of human life. There is no justification for its forced inclusion in every package of basic health care benefits. Regardless of one's views on the morality of contraception, it is unjust for the government to compel citizens to pay premiums to subsidize a practice many find morally objectionable. When that forced subsidy supports the destruction of human life through abortifacients, the government's edict becomes unconscionable.
Media reports claim that the Obama Administration has incorporated an amendment to the new regulations that permit religious institutions that provide health insurance coverage to exempt themselves from the contraceptive mandate. But if you don't happen to work for a religious institution, you have no individual conscience rights.
Current Missouri law allows individuals to purchase health insurance coverage that excludes contraceptives if their use is contrary to that person's "moral, ethical, or religious beliefs." The new Obama Administration mandate will likely erase these conscience protections in Missouri law.
A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to protect the conscience rights of Americans who do not want their health insurance premiums to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska and Representative Dan Boren of Oklahoma are sponsoring the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011."