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Back Door Abortion Mandate in Health Care Reform

Could your insurance plan be required to cover abortion-inducing drugs? A known loophole in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) could allow pro-abortion advocates to sneak this abortion mandate through the back door. If a federal agency determines “contraception” is “preventive care” every American will be obligated to subsidize abortion through their health insurance premiums.

How does this work? PPACA requires all private health insurance plans to provide coverage of “preventive care for women,” not just those plans participating in the insurance exchanges that the law requires be established by 2014. Instead of defining “preventive care” in the statute, Congress left this determination to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have been pushing for the inclusion of contraception in the definition of “preventive care” ever since PPACA was passed.

Some drugs classified as “contraceptives” by the FDA, such as Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and Plan B (the so-called “morning after pill”), can kill an embryo by blocking its ability to implant in the uterus. In August, the FDA classified a new drug, ella, as contraception, despite the fact that ella can kill an embryo even after implantation has occurred. Thus, if HHS decides to include “contraception” as “preventive care,” all insurance plans will be required to provide coverage of these abortion-inducing drugs. 

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 16, the Institute of Medicine, an advisory panel of medical experts, will meet to begin the process of making recommendations to HHS as to what should be covered under this preventive care mandate. This panel has invited several groups that are interested in women’s or adolescent issues to present at the meeting. The deck is stacked with abortion advocates. Almost every outside group asked to present has made public statements in support of abortion.

Americans United for Life encourages the Institute of Medicine not to include “contraception” and “abortion” in its recommendations on preventive care.  Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who offered the amendment that now mandates preventive care coverage, stated on the Senate floor,

“This amendment is strictly concerned with ensuring that women get the kind of preventive screenings and treatments they may need to prevent diseases particular to women such as breast cancer and cervical cancer. There is neither legislative intent nor legislative language that would cover abortion under this amendment, nor would abortion coverage be mandated in any way by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.”

The Institute of Medicine should adhere to the Senator’s comments that “preventive care” means to provide screenings and care for American women to prevent disease, not to end pregnancies.