Though the deck seemed stacked from the beginning, pro-life groups still mounted an effort to keep coverage for life-ending drugs and devices from being forced on nearly all Americans perversely under the guise of necessary “preventive” health care for women.
Never formally invited by the IOM to present, pro-life organizations — including Americans United for Life — attended and spoke up during the public comments portion of every open IOM committee meeting to urge the panel against including life-ending drugs and devices in the mandate.
At every meeting, the IOM panel was reminded by AUL and others that the “preventive services” provision was, as its author Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) stated, “strictly concerned” with “preventing diseases.”
Further, the IOM panel was reminded that Mikulski made assurances on the Senate floor that, under her provision, abortion would not be covered “in any way.”
And at every meeting it was explained to the IOM panel that ella, newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a “emergency contraceptive,” is — just like the abortion drug RU-486 — a selective progesterone receptor modulator. By blocking progesterone, ella, like RU-486, can end even an “established” pregnancy. Thus the IOM committee was well-aware of the facts: Ella does not prevent disease. Its mandated coverage not only fails to “fit” with the stated intent of the law, but, as an abortion-inducing drug, its inclusion directly violates Mikulski’s assurances.
Despite this knowledge, in July 2011, during the IOM committee’s press conference announcing the release of its report, Chairwoman Dr. Linda Rosenstock explained, unequivocally, that the drug ella was included in her committee’s recommendation. Though Rosenstock stated her committee considered “every” comment that was presented before it, the IOM report utterly failed to address the serious concerns repeatedly presented at the meetings about ella’s abortion-inducing quality. Nowhere in its 250-page report did the committee even mention ella’s mechanisms of action.
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