Obama administration approves no-cost birth control, including ‘morning after’ pill

Pro-lifers are horrified at the announcement Monday that the Obama administration has approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to guarantee full health insurance coverage for birth control, including the so-called “morning-after” pill, under the Affordable Care Act.

The new guidelines, which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) labeled “historic,” will require new health insurance plans to include women’s preventive services including FDA approved contraceptives, breast feeding support, and well-women visits — all without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible — beginning August 1, 2012.

“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”

The Obama administration also released an amendment to the guidelines allowing religious organizations to opt out of providing the contraception services.

Still, pro-life advocacy groups virulently opposed the IOM recommendation. LifeNews is reporting that these organizations may push Congress to pass legislation to reduce harm which they believe will accompany the new guidelines.

“The real issue is not about ‘birth control’ as such but rather about specific contraceptives that can function as abortifacients, in particular, emergency contraceptives,” Jeanne Monahan, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity explained to LifeNews. “This isn’t a matter of opinion or political ideology.”

“The FDA approved label for Plan B suggests it can prevent implantation of an embryo. Moreover, the most recently approved EC, ‘ella,’ is chemically similar to RU-486 and it may destroy an embryo after it is already implanted,” she added.

Groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL were major advocates for the new directive.

“As someone who has worked on women’s rights for nearly 30 years, I can say that today’s news marks one of the biggest advances for women’s health in a generation,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a statement when IOM released their recommendation.

“Currently, nearly one in three women finds it difficult to pay for birth control, and that’s why the United States has a far higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other industrialized countries. Making family-planning services available at no cost will help millions of women prevent unintended pregnancy and thereby reduce the need for abortion.”

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