10 Facts You Should Know About the Obama Administration’s Abortion-Inducing Drug Mandate

Fact 1: Nearly all Americans will pay for life-ending drugs, regardless of their moral and religious opposition to abortion

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have mandated nearly all private health insurance plans fully cover, without co-pay, life-ending drugs, devices, and services. Americans United for Life adamantly opposes the guidelines.

Fact 2: HRSA has included life-ending drugs as part of ‘preventive services for women’

Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act (the healthcare law of 2010) requires nearly all health insurance plans to fully cover, without co-pay, “preventive services” for women. However, Congress delegated to the HRSA, a sub-agency of HHS, the determination of what constitutes “preventive services.” The HRSA mandate includes drugs and devices with known life-ending mechanisms of action, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.

Fact 3: Inclusion of the life-ending coverage is no accident

During the health care debate in Congress, AUL warned that the freedom of conscience was at risk to an abortion agenda of a federal agency unrestrained by the “preventive services” provision. During the Institute of Medicine meetings purporting to develop “evidence based” preventive care guidelines, AUL twice testified (here and here), urging that abortion-inducing drugs like ella be left out of the plan and asking that the Administration respect the historical freedom of conscience of all Americans (AUL has also submitted extensive comments addressing these concerns to HHS in September 2010 and September 2011.)

This is not the top of a slippery slope, but a deliberate step in eviscerating the freedom of conscience. Importantly, advocacy groups recognize that if they can establish legal precedent to coerce someone to violate her conscience regarding “contraceptives,” they can then easily extend that legal precedent to coerce pharmacists to dispense RU-486, to coerce medical students to participate in abortion training, and to coerce doctors to participate in surgical abortions.

Fact 4: Mandating coverage for life-ending drugs and devices is contrary to the stated intent of the Affordable Care Act’s “preventive services” provision to prevent diseases.

First, pregnancy is not a disease and it is, thus, illogical to include elective contraceptive-coverage through an amendment its author, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), noted was “strictly concerned” with preventing diseases.

Second, it is directly contrary to Senator Mikulski’s assurance that abortion would not be covered “in any way” to include abortion-inducing drugs, such as ella, in preventive care and screenings.

Third, mandated coverage for ella opens the door to off-label intended-abortion usage of the drug being funded by all health insurance plans.

Fact 5: The Institute of Medicine (IOM), tasked with advising HRSA on what should be included in the preventive services mandate, had an abortion-advocacy bias in its panel membership as well as its invited presenters

Dissenting from the IOM recommendation, committee member Dr. Anthony Lo Sasso criticized the committee’s lack of transparency and creation of an advocacy-based recommendation, “The committee process for evaluation of the evidence lacked transparency and was largely subject to the preferences of the committee’s composition. Troublingly, the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”

Fact 6: Although the Obama Administration has announced it plans to address its inadequate conscience accommodation, the HHS regulation was finalized “without change” on February 10, 2012

The supposed “accommodation” for a narrowly-defined set of “religious employers” suggested by HHS:

1. Fails to protect the conscience rights of many Americans including individuals, for-profit employers, and non-religiously affiliated non-profits whose pro-life consciences are nonetheless violated.

2. Compromises conscience protection laws of several states, and

3. Violates the principles of longstanding conscience protections in federal law.

Fact 7: Opposition to the life-ending drugs and devices mandate is not just a “Catholic” thing

Over 2,500 church leaders from evangelical and other denominations, including pastors, church leaders and many women in ministry have expressed strong opposition to the coercive anti-life mandate.

Fact 8: More Americans oppose the mandate than support it. It is not a tiny minority that stands in opposition to the HRSA life-ending drugs and devices mandate

According to Rasmussen polling, 46 percent oppose forcing “contraceptive” coverage, while only 39 percent approve. Nor is this an issue of women versus men. Women’s opinion, according to the Rasmussen poll, was nearly evenly split. Only 40 percent of women approve, while 42 percent of women oppose the mandate. Additionally, a New York Times/CBS News poll in March 2012 showed that “Americans strongly support an exemption to the ‘birth control mandate’ by 57% to 36% for religiously-affiliated employers.”

Fact 9: The Founders of the United States believed protecting the freedom of conscience was of utmost importance

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.” Still, the Obama Administration has announced it seeks to “balance” a core constitutional principle of “religious liberty” with its policy preference of increased “access” to life-ending drugs and devices in spite of the Founder’s intention.

Fact 10: The damage done by the mandate will be hard to counteract once the insurance market stops accommodating the freedom of conscience

With the mandate affecting plans as soon as August 2012, many pro-life Americans will be forced to pay for insurance coverage of life-ending drugs and devices against their conscientious objection. Thus, immediate action is necessary to address the inappropriate mandate.