Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced new guidelines that would have insurance companies provide birth control and other women’s health services as “preventive care.” Under Obamacare, this means they come with no co-pay.
Here’s what HHS Secretary Sebelius said in the announcement:
“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start. These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”
The announcement continued by noting that “before health reform, too many Americans didn’t get the preventive health care they need to stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, lead productive lives, and reduce health care costs. Often because of cost, Americans used preventive services at about half the recommended rate.”
The new rule equates contraception — the prevention of pregnancy — with preventive measures against gestational diabetes, human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexually transmitted diseases. One of these things is not like the other.
LifeNews reports that pro-life groups are also concerned that the guidelines subsidize abortifacient contraceptives, and that the guidelines provide a prohibitively narrow conscience exemption. The exemption is for “nonprofit religious employers that has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose, primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets, and serves persons who share its religious tenets.” In other words, even if the Roman Catholic Church is exempt, Roman Catholics are not.
Planned Parenthood, a major vendor of contraceptives, applauds the new guidelines.