Wednesday’s news was full of the newest recommendations on women’s “preventive healthcare” (my quotes – more in a moment). Working under the rules created by the new healthcare legislation, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened an expert panel to develop recommendations for preventative measures the federal government should mandate to all insurance carriers. Among the eight recommendations intended to help women’s health, the most glaring recommends that “the full range of FDA approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity” be provided by every insurance carrier in the United States.
This is the latest example of government imposition of a world view that is completely counter to what we hold as Catholics to be true. If this is enacted, every Catholic institution would be forced to provide insurance to cover contraception (including emergency contraception that causes abortion) or face the prospect of being in violation of federal law. As individuals, we will have no choice in the matter. Our “choice” will be to have health insurance for our families and therefore support (via our premium payments) that which is against the core truths we believe, or go without health insurance.
Do you remember the President stating “If you like the insurance you have today you can keep it” when he signed this new legislation? That is proving to be a lie. The name of the policy provider may stay the same, but what gets covered will be up to panels like IOM imposing their world view on us all.
“Preventative medicine” as I learned it was the use of interventions or procedures that assisted the human immune system to be better equipped to respond to a disease-causing agent or unhealthy habits. What part of shutting down the normal reproductive system with hormonal contraceptives correlates with helping the body to be prepared to fight a potential threat? Why is having a natural fertility cycle unhealthy?
And when did being pregnant become a disease?
The Institute of Medicine, while validating their recommendations as based solely on evidenced-based scientific data, no doubt simply ignored the fact that nowhere has it been shown that making contraceptives more widely available decreases abortion and sexually transmitted diseases, or eliminates unintended pregnancies. The data shows abortions actually increase as contraceptives are made more available and the explosion in STDs tracks right along with the increasing use of contraceptives. No wonder Planned Parenthood is singing the praises of IOM today; their bottom line just got a huge boost.
Incidentally, lest you think I’m a bit exaggerated on this, the IOM’s full report contains a statement that they could not recommend abortion on demand be fully covered only because existing federal legislation prevented it.
The USCCB issued a press release condemning this on the same day. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston Galveston and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-life Activities said this:
I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of three particular practices in almost all private health plans: surgical sterilization; all FDA-approved birth control (including the IUD, “morning-after” pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella); and “education and counseling” promoting these among all “women of reproductive capacity.”
Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible……”
Cardinal DiNadro is spot on. We need to not sit back and let this happen to us. Start complaining to your congressman and senator. Tell your neighbors and work colleagues what the consequences of the IOM recommendations mean to them. When you vote, be informed of where the candidates really stand, not just what the ads say they believe in.
– by Mike Manhart, Ph.D., executive director