Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New rules: Health insurers must offer women free birth control

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Health and Human Services Department says the new rule is part of the nation's healthcare overhaul. Under the new guidelines, no co-pays would be required.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine report, commissioned by the Obama administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods, which include the "morning-after pill," taken shortly after intercourse, allegedly to "stop" a pregnancy, will shortly be added to the list of preventive health services.This pill is an abortifacient. 

Pro-Life Americans and religious groups have protested the use of taxpayer money to cover birth control, especially the "morning-after pill" which is an abortifacient, resulting in the killing of embryonic life.

The guidelines, currently in effect require insurers to provide free coverage of preventive care services for women in all new plans as of August 2012.

"These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

However, the HHS added an amendment allowing religious institutions to choose whether to cover contraception services in their insurance. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had urged the HHS to exclude birth control as a service.

As in many other instances under this administrations claims to be concerned for religious liberty, the amendment is being roundly condemned as ineffective. The new requirement will be the subject of Court challenges. 

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Planned Parenthood have welcomed the new guidelines. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the world.

"Eliminating cost sharing for these crucial preventive services will make needed care more accessible and will improve the health of millions of women," Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin said.

The health department's guidelines free screening for gestational diabetes, testing for human papillomavirus in women over 30, counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, lactation counseling, screening for domestic violence and yearly wellness visits.

A Thomson Reuters/NPR survey in May found 76.6 percent of respondents believe private insurance plans, without government assistance, should cover some or all costs associated with birth control pills. Of course, may Americans do not know the truth concerning the so called 'morning after pill'. 

The Catholic Church, and many other Christian groups, have strongly condemned the unilateral action of the Administration as an affront to religious liberty and a threat to human life. 

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