The Planned Parenthood abortion business is defending President Barack Obama’s decision to put in place a mandate forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage for their employees that covers birth control or drugs that may cause abortions.
The Obama Administration issued a statement re-iterating the “contraceptive mandate” requiring all insurance providers cover the full range of FDA-approved drugs and devices would remain intact. This mandate, issued in August, includes drugs that work after conception to destroy life rather than prevent it. The statement included a postponement of one year for religious groups that do not already carry contraceptives and additionally would not be exempted under last year’s narrow definition of “religious employer.”
“President Obama and Secretary Sebelius stood strong to make sure all women — no matter where they work — will have access to birth control without a co-pay, saving them hundreds of dollars,” a Planned Parenthood spokesperson says. “Thank President Obama and Secretary Sebelius — tell them to keep protecting the birth control women count on.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards dismissed concerns from Catholics in an interview with ABC News, saying birth control use is “nearly universal in the U.S., even among Catholic women.”
“Planned Parenthood respects religious freedom and believes that neither government nor employers should intrude on individuals’ ability to practice their own religions or faiths, including their personal decisions about health care,” Richards said.
ABC indicates the ad will air in West Palm Beach, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Lansing, Michigan; Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Toledo, Ohio; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Madison, Wisconsin. The locations are not surprising given that they are big cities in key states in the upcoming presidential election and Planned Parenthood will be aggressively defending Obama and his pro-abortion record to voters this year.
The mandate will likely play a big role in whether Catholics who supported Obama in 2008 will do so again this time and pro-life Catholic groups will remind voters of the mandate as they consider whether to allow the pro-abortion president another four years in office.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, has filed legislation in the Senate to repeal the mandate.
The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.
The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.
Jeanne Monahan of FRC says the current opt out is not sufficient.
“On September 30th, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received thousands of negative comments related to the interim final rule published on August 3rd where all insurance plans were informed that they must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives with no co-pay,” Monahan explains. “A very narrowly defined conscience exemption for religious organizations was included which, in essence, covers only places of worship and was originally drafted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for a bill in California.”
“HHS offered a fig leaf of conscience protection for certain churches that fulfill very specific criteria. However, religious groups that provide social services, engage in missions work to people of different religious faiths, religious health insurance companies, let alone religious health care providers and individuals in such health plans are not protected from any discrimination whatever. The new rule will force many Americans to violate their consciences or refrain from participating in health care insurance, further burdening an already costly system,” Monahan said.
“For an administration that promised to protect conscience laws in effect now, this decision completely ignores opinion, research and science that do not support a pro-abortion ideology. In the words of one of the committee members who objected to the IOM recommendations, the ‘evaluation for evidence lacked transparency … the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determination through the lens of advocacy,” Monahan continued. “This administration is promoting mandates that will violate the consciences of millions.”
The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.