Obama's health care reform may include free artificial contraceptives
Catholic bishops say pregnancy is a healthy condition, not an illness
The Obama administration's health care reform legislation includes a guarantee of access to free preventative medicine for women. According to some sources, such as Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, that promise has sparked a debate as to whether or artificial contraceptives should be provided at no cost under the new law. Does the Health care law see pregnancy as a disease?
The Obama administration's health care reform legislation includes a guarantee of access to free preventative medicine for women. According to some sources, such as Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, that promise has sparked a debate as to whether or not articial contraceptives should be provided at no cost under the new law.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Obama administration's health care reform legislation includes a guarantee of access to free preventative medicine for women. According to some sources, such as Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, that promise has sparked a debate as to whether or artificial contraceptives should be provided at no cost under the new law. Does the Health care law see pregancny as a disease?
A panel of experts is set to meet later this month to discuss the issue. Both proponents and opponents have offered their opinions and concerns.
Among the growing chorus of voices is Jeanne Monahan, a health policy expert at the Family Research Council, who says her group would oppose any mandate that lacks a conscience exemption for moral and religious reasons.
Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says articificial contraception and birth control coverage is not preventive medicine.
Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University says he's glad to hear the health care reform bill as its written includes free contraceptives for women.
Dr. David Grimes, an instructor at the University of North Carolina and a 'family planning' expert, told the Associated Press that there is "clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health . Contraception rivals immunization in dollars saved for every dollar invested. Spacing out children allows for optimal pregnancies and optimal child rearing. Contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops argues that pregnancy is "a healthy condition, not an illness," according to Alonso-Zaldivar, and John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center added that they "don't consider it to be health care, but a lifestyle choice. We think there are other ways to avoid having children than by ingesting chemicals paid for by health insurance."
Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, the author of the women's health amendment "says the clear intent was to include family planning," adds. Furthermore, the Associated Press says that "almost all" insurance plans in the U.S., including Medicare, currently cover birth control.
"So far, most other religious conservatives have stayed out of the debate, though that could change," says Alonso-Zaldivar. "Some say they are concerned about any requirement that might include the morning-after pill. The Food and Drug Administration classifies it as birth control; some religious conservatives see it as an abortion drug."
"How the Obama administration will apply the law remains to be seen," he concludes. "It could allow insurance plans wide discretion on meeting the coverage requirement. A panel convened by the Institute of Medicine will hold its first meeting Nov. 16 to begin work on recommendations to HHS. The department has until next August to make its decision."
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Birth control, health care reform, Bishops
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