The Abortion Industry is Happy with the HHS Mandate, Are You?

Opinion   |   Bill Saunders and Anna Franzonello   |   Jun 18, 2012   |   6:08PM   |   Washington, DC

While several states have recently enacted measures to guard against taxpayer funds subsidizing the abortion industry, the HHS mandate—which mandates how money from health insurance premiums, not tax-dollars, are spent— would, in effect, bypass those efforts.

On Friday, the Guttmacher Institute—the research arm of the abortion industry—issued what it describes as a “detailed roadmap for family planning clinics to adapt to a rapidly changing health marketplace.” Advocating that these clinics need to become “adept at working with health insurance plans,” the Guttmacher plan is essentially a “how-to” for taking advantage of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate’s forced coverage for all FDA-approved “contraceptives” (a definition which includes the abortion-inducing drug ella).

Guttmacher’s blueprint for family planning clinics, which are often operated by or affiliated with the abortion industry, is but another example of how the Affordable Care Act pads the abortion industry’s bottom-line.

Of course, it is not a surprise that the abortion industry will profit from the HHS mandate specifically. Planned Parenthood’s intimate involvement in the shaping of the HHS mandate and its inadequate conscience exemption are well-documented. Several members of the Institute of Medicine panel which made the recommendation, ultimately adopted by HHS, have direct ties to Planned Parenthood. In addition, at the first IOM panel meeting, Planned Parenthood was included among groups invited to speak on “women’s issues.” Significantly, it has been reported that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards played a key role in defining the Administration’s current policy.

The policy, however, has not been popular outside of Planned Parenthood. Polls show that more Americans oppose than support the mandate. Strong majorities support conscience exemptions that the mandate lacks.

Despite strong public opposition to the HHS mandate, the Obama Administration has reiterated its commitment to the coercive policy. However, in a transparent effort to placate voters in an election year, through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), HHS has provided an opportunity for public comment on its plan.

Today, Americans United for Life filed an extensive comment, exposing the Obama Administration’s failure to protect freedom of conscience, a foundational American principle. AUL’s comment also highlights the Obama Administration’s failure to correct the inappropriate over-reach of the HHS mandate. The mandate’s inclusion of life-ending drugs and devices is contrary to the stated intent of the preventive services provision of the Affordable Care Act and was based on an ideologically driven recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. As AUL’s comment also details, the ANPRM exposes HHS’ improper bypass of the Administrative Procedures Act’s (APA) notice-and-comment period requirements.



While the abortion industry is poised to take financial advantage of the HHS mandate, pro-life Americans and those concerned with the retaining freedom of conscience must not concede the ground. The opportunity to voice your concern about this failure should not be missed. Americans United for Life Action has created a model comment for those interested in submitting their own before the June 19 deadline.