Free contraceptives may be a part of health care reform; fight underway
Will tax dollars be used to fund contraception, some of which causes abortion?
A panel of experts will advise the government when it meets this month to begin considering what constitutes "preventive care" for women, and what should be covered at no cost to the patient. This is a key stipulation of healthcare reform, as required under U.S. President Barack Obama's overhaul of the healthcare system. Will tax dollars be used to fund contraception, some of which causes abortion?
'We don't consider it to be health care, but a lifestyle choice,' John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center says. 'We think there are other ways to avoid having children than by ingesting chemicals paid for by health insurance.'
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A debate on of great significance is brewing between some heath care advocates and religious leaders if this will include free, accessible contraceptives to women.
Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., author of the women's health amendment, says the clear intent was to include family planning . But is articicial birth control preventive medicine?
To some medical and public health experts, there's no debate. To others there clearly is. This is compunded by the fact that some articial contraceptives are abortifacient. In other words, they cause abortion, the taking of human life.
"There is clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health," obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. David Grimes, an international family planning expert who teaches medicine at the University of North Carolina says.
"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."
U.S. Catholic bishops, and many, many other Pro-Life leaders insist that pregnancy is a healthy condition, not an illness. In comments filed with the Department of Health and Human Services, the bishops say they oppose any requirement to cover contraceptives or sterilization as preventive care.
"We don't consider it to be health care, but a lifestyle choice," John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center says. "We think there are other ways to avoid having children than by ingesting chemicals paid for by health insurance."
Other pro-life religious conservatives have thus far stayed out of the debate - but that could change. 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; other pro-life medical professional and advocates for the Right to Life argue it is an abortion drug.
Jeanne Monahan, a health policy expert at the Family Research Council, said her group would oppose any mandate that lacks a conscience exemption for moral and religious reasons. She said there's "great suspicion" that a major abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is leading the push for free birth control.
Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and many occur among women using some form of contraception. The government says the problem is rarely the birth control method, but "inconsistent or incorrect use," such as forgetting to take a pill.
Advocates say free articicial contraceptives would begin to address the problem.
"We can look at other countries where birth control is available for no cost, and what we see are lower pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates and lower teen pregnancy," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood says. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest purveyors of contraceptives and providers of abortion.
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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: Contraceptives, moral quandaries, abortion, bishops, pro-life
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