New Health Care Law Requirements Ignore Obama’s Executive Order: Violates Conscience Rights of Millions of Americans

From Lake County Right to Life…

(Grayslake, IL — July 27, 2011) By August 1 the federal government is likely to accept a medical panel’s advice that new health plans must fully cover all contraception, including sterilization and pills designed to cause abortions. Conscience protections previously promised in President Obama’s 2010 Executive Order have been omitted. Individuals and providers will be forced to pay for services they object to on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

President Obama’s Executive Order 13535 states that existing conscience protections, particularly regarding abortion, will apply to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The panel’s recommendations also violate current conscience laws, the Church Amendment and the Hyde-Weldon Amendment.

The new health care law requires 100% coverage for standard preventive care, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. The panel’s idea to classify contraception as “preventive medicine,” causes all related drugs having FDA approval, such as abortion pills Ella, Plan B and RU486, to be included.

The report has set off a fierce debate, with outraged reactions from conservative and religious groups. Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said that “including drugs such as Ella essentially would mandate coverage for abortion” despite President Obama’s promise. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops said, “The cost of these practices will be paid by all who participate in health coverage, employers and employees alike, including those who conscientiously object.”

“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed,” said Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman for the bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. “But the Institute of Medicine report treats them as such.”

Former St. Louis University professor Donald Critchlow, who has written on birth control policy, also disagrees with the recommendations. “Private insurers should have discretion in deciding what they want to cover,” he said.

These new recommendations would forbid co-payments. Dr. Linda Rosenstock, chair of the panel, admitted that “We did not consider cost or cost-effectiveness in our deliberations.” Yet, the panel’s report says that “contraception is highly cost-effective.”

One panel member, Professor Anthony LoSasso, a health economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, filed a dissent, saying the committee did not have enough time to conduct “a serious and systematic review” of the evidence. He said the report includes “a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”

Cardinal DiNardo also notes that the panel’s report favored mandatory coverage of surgical abortions and would have included them in their recommendations had it not been against the law. He said, “I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health of women and children.”

Lake County Right to Life urges HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reject the panel’s recommendations. In addition, Lake County Right to Life urges Congress to pass the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act” (HR 1179) to protect millions from being forced to violate deeply held moral and religious convictions.

About Lake County Right to Life

Established in 1973 and headquartered in Grayslake, Lake County Right to Life is an educational and advocacy organization for the protection of innocent human life. The organization works in Lake County to promote the vision of a society in which all human life is respected, protected and secure.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001