Federal Action Alert – Please Send Your Comments: HHS Contraceptive Mandate Violates Conscience Rights
BACKGROUND: In implementing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued guidelines requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception and sterilization as “preventive services” for women. This mandate includes drugs that may cause an abortion both before and after implantation. The FDA-approved “emergency contraception” drugs covered by this mandate can work by interfering with implantation. Also, the drug “Ella,” a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, has been shown in animal tests to cause an abortion.
An interim final rule references these guidelines, and allows an extremely narrow and inadequate religious exemption. This action poses a threat to the religious freedom of individuals and institutions. The exemption covers only a “religious employer” that has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose, primarily employs and serves persons who share its religious tenets, and is a church organization under two narrow provisions of the tax code. Plans offered by a great many religious organizations, including Catholic colleges and universities as well as hospitals and charitable institutions that serve the general public, would be ineligible under these terms.
For additional information, see: www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/preventive-services-backgrounder.cfm
ACTION: Please send an e-mail message to HHS by clicking the link below. Personal comments can be added. As is the practice, all comments and information submitted to HHS will be made available publicly online. Only your name (first and last) and your message will be forwarded.
Please act soon, the public comment period on this interim final rule ends September 30.