IOM Decision May Force Americans to Have Pro-Abortion Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2011   |   11:35AM   |   Washington, DC

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the Obama administration approve new guidelines calling for the Obamacare health care system to require every health insurance plan to cover all FDA-approved birth control drugs.

The decision, which is expected to be adopted by the Health and Human Services Department has far-reaching effects because it would force insurance companies to include coverage of drugs like the Plan B pill that may cause an early abortion of a newly-conceived unborn child or the Ella drug, which causes abortions days after conception. Health insurance plans would likely pass on the increased coverage costs to consumers.

Americans United for Life staff counsel Anna Franzonello said today that the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations on “preventive services for women” are “unsurprisingly supportive of abortion-inducing drugs because the IOM chose to invite abortion advocacy groups to the table to make recommendations.” Franzonello, who testified before the IOM during hearings asking that the birth control and abortion-causing drugs not be included, says the Obama administration is responsible for the stacked hearings that led to the IOM recommendations.

If adopted, Franzonello says the recommendations would yield a horrendous result.

“No American will be able to choose an insurance plan that does not include the abortion-inducing drug ella under the IOM plan released today,” the pro-life AUL attorney explained. “Despite the fact that ella can kill a human embryo even after implantation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled the drug as emergency contraception. Thus, the IOM’s broad inclusion of the ‘full-range of FDA approved contraceptives,’ includes ella.  This really was a one-two punch by the FDA and IOM to force all Americans to pay for the abortion-inducing drug.”

“HHS regulations implementing this definition would affect all health insurance plans, through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) [Obamacare] ‘preventive care’ mandate,” Franzonello explained. “Americans United for Life urges the HHS to reject the IOM recommendation, and to respect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.”

The pro-life attorney says pro-life groups raised concerns about this potential well in advance of Congress adopting the Obamacare legislation and she says the IOM’s decision to place Planned Parenthood at the center of the hearings that led to yesterday’s recommendations was a clear predictor of the ultimate decision.

“The Obama Administration’s ability to push funding for abortion and abortion-causing drugs through the ‘preventive care’ mandate is something Americans United for Life has warned about since before PPACA was passed into law,” she said. “The IOM’s invitation to abortion-advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion provider, who stands to gain financially from the mandate – to help form its ‘evidence based’ recommendation, buttressed AUL’s concerns.”

Franzonello also says HHS should reject the IOM guidelines for Obamacare because pro-abortion Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, promised the preventative care section of Obamacare would not be used to push abortion — even though she refused efforts by pro-life lawmakers to add language making that the case. She also said the IOM suggestions for Obamacare coverage could have been worse, because surgical abortions could have been added to the preventative care section.

“However, it is telling to note that even though promises were made that preventive care would not mean abortions, today’s IOM recommendation seems to imply that it would have considered abortion for its coverage, if the law had not prevented that,” she said. “In the report, the authors wrote, ‘Finally, despite the potential health and well-being benefits to some women, abortion services were considered to be outside of the project’s scope, given the restrictions contained in the ACA.’”

The decision has already been panned by several pro-life groups, including the Family Research Council and the nation’s Catholic bishops. Human Life International has also condemned the decision.