Americans United for Life | AUL’s Freedom of Conscience Project
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AUL’s Freedom of Conscience Project

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10 Facts You Should Know About the Obama Administration’s Abortion-Inducing Drug Mandate

Fact 1: Nearly all Americans will pay for life-ending drugs, regardless of their moral and religious opposition to abortion

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have mandated nearly all private health insurance plans fully cover, without co-pay, life-ending drugs, devices, and services. Americans United for Life adamantly opposes the guidelines.

Fact 2: HRSA has included life-ending drugs as part of 'preventive services for women'

Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act (the healthcare law of 2010) requires nearly all health insurance plans to fully cover, without co-pay, “preventive services” for women. However, Congress delegated to the HRSA, a sub-agency of HHS, the determination of what constitutes “preventive services.” The HRSA mandate includes drugs and devices with known life-ending mechanisms of action, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.

Fact 3: Inclusion of the life-ending coverage is no accident

During the health care debate in Congress, AUL warned that the freedom of conscience was at risk to an abortion agenda of a federal agency unrestrained by the “preventive services” provision. During the Institute of Medicine meetings purporting to develop “evidence based” preventive care guidelines, AUL twice testified (here and here), urging that abortion-inducing drugs like ella be left out of the plan and asking that the Administration respect the historical freedom of conscience of all Americans (AUL has also submitted extensive comments addressing these concerns to HHS in September 2010 and September 2011.)

This is not the top of a slippery slope, but a deliberate step in eviscerating the freedom of conscience. Importantly, advocacy groups recognize that if they can establish legal precedent to coerce someone to violate her conscience regarding “contraceptives,” they can then easily extend that legal precedent to coerce pharmacists to dispense RU-486, to coerce medical students to participate in abortion training, and to coerce doctors to participate in surgical abortions.

Fact 4: Mandating coverage for life-ending drugs and devices is contrary to the stated intent of the Affordable Care Act’s “preventive services” provision to prevent diseases.

First, pregnancy is not a disease and it is, thus, illogical to include elective contraceptive-coverage through an amendment its author, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), noted was “strictly concerned” with preventing diseases.

Second, it is directly contrary to Senator Mikulski’s assurance that abortion would not be covered “in any way” to include abortion-inducing drugs, such as ella, in preventive care and screenings.

Third, mandated coverage for ella opens the door to off-label intended-abortion usage of the drug being funded by all health insurance plans.

Fact 5: The Institute of Medicine (IOM), tasked with advising HRSA on what should be included in the preventive services mandate, had an abortion-advocacy bias in its panel membership as well as its invited presenters

Dissenting from the IOM recommendation, committee member Dr. Anthony Lo Sasso criticized the committee’s lack of transparency and creation of an advocacy-based recommendation, “The committee process for evaluation of the evidence lacked transparency and was largely subject to the preferences of the committee’s composition. Troublingly, the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”

Fact 6: Although the Obama Administration has announced it plans to address its inadequate conscience accommodation, the HHS regulation was finalized “without change” on February 10, 2012

The supposed “accommodation” for a narrowly-defined set of “religious employers” suggested by HHS:

1. Fails to protect the conscience rights of many Americans including individuals, for-profit employers, and non-religiously affiliated non-profits whose pro-life consciences are nonetheless violated.

2. Compromises conscience protection laws of several states, and

3. Violates the principles of longstanding conscience protections in federal law.

Fact 7: Opposition to the life-ending drugs and devices mandate is not just a “Catholic” thing

Over 2,500 church leaders from evangelical and other denominations, including pastors, church leaders and many women in ministry have expressed strong opposition to the coercive anti-life mandate.

Fact 8: More Americans oppose the mandate than support it. It is not a tiny minority that stands in opposition to the HRSA life-ending drugs and devices mandate

According to Rasmussen polling, 46 percent oppose forcing “contraceptive” coverage, while only 39 percent approve. Nor is this an issue of women versus men. Women’s opinion, according to the Rasmussen poll, was nearly evenly split. Only 40 percent of women approve, while 42 percent of women oppose the mandate. Additionally, a New York Times/CBS News poll in March 2012 showed that “Americans strongly support an exemption to the ‘birth control mandate’ by 57% to 36% for religiously-affiliated employers.”

Fact 9: The Founders of the United States believed protecting the freedom of conscience was of utmost importance

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.” Still, the Obama Administration has announced it seeks to “balance” a core constitutional principle of “religious liberty” with its policy preference of increased “access” to life-ending drugs and devices in spite of the Founder’s intention.

Fact 10: The damage done by the mandate will be hard to counteract once the insurance market stops accommodating the freedom of conscience

With the mandate affecting plans as soon as August 2012, many pro-life Americans will be forced to pay for insurance coverage of life-ending drugs and devices against their conscientious objection. Thus, immediate action is necessary to address the inappropriate mandate.


Infographic: Covert Abortion Premium Mandate

Covert Abortion-Premium Mandate


AUL Comments to HHS

Americans United for Life has made the following comments to the Department of Health and Human Services:

Conscience - April 2013

Americans United for Life has filed its third, extensive comment defending freedom of conscience and urging the Obama Department of Health and Human Services to rescind its coercive, anti-life mandate. The mandate requires nearly all private health insurance plans to provide full coverage for life-ending drugs and devices masquerading as “contraception.” Although over 150 plaintiffs have filed 52 lawsuits challenging the mandate, HHS has failed to adequately address the serious issues at hand. [Continue Reading…]

Civil Rights/Conscience - April 2013

Americans United for Life (AUL) filed a comment with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to express concern about the growing trend of purported nondiscrimination policies being used to unjustifiably burden freedom of conscience. Of particular concern to AUL is the requirement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that nearly all private health insurance plans provide full coverage for life-ending drugs and devices masquerading as “contraception.” [Continue Reading…]

Preventive Care; Conscience - June 2012

Americans United for Life remains deeply concerned with the guidelines and regulation regarding preventative services for women that were issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on August 1, 2011 and finalized, without change, February 15, 2012. The questions and commentary offered by HHS in the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (*ANPRM) highblight, without alleviating, these concerns. [Continue Reading…]

Exchange Implementation - September 2011

On July 15, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rulefor implementation of “the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges (“Exchanges”), consistent withtitle I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-148) as amendedby the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-152), referred tocollectively as the ‘Affordable Care Act.’” HHS invited comments on the regulation to besubmitted on or before September 28, 2011. [Continue Reading…]

Preventive Care - September 2011

Americans United for Life is deeply concerned about the guidelines and regulationconcerning preventive services for women that was issued by the Health Resourcesand Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and HumanServices (HHS) on August 1, 2011. [Continue Reading…]

Preventive Care - September 2010

On July 19, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an
interim final rule for group health plans and health insurance issuers relating to
coverage of preventive services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act of 2010 (Affordable Care Act). HHS invited comments on the regulation to be
submitted on or before September 17, 2010. [Continue Reading…]

High Risk Pools - September 2010

On July 30, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an
interim final rule to implement requirements in section 1101 of Title I (pertaining
to the creation of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Program (PCIP
program), or “high risk pools”) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
of 2010 (Affordable Care Act). [Continue Reading…]


Memoranda on Federal Bills Responding to ACA:


The Protect Life Act
Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

Model Legislation:

The Federal Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act
The Exchange and Private Insurance Coverage Prohibition Act
The Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act of 2012
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act
Ensuring Compliance with Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act


Articles / Op-eds / Testimony


Defending Life Articles

• Each year, AUL publishes Defending Life: A State-by-State Legal Guide to Abortion, Bioethics, and the End of Life. Click here to read Defending Life 2013 online.

Legislative De-funding of Abortion Providers: States Respond to Widespread Industry Abuses, Mary E. Harned
State Funding Limitations: A Proven Weapon in Reducing Abortions, Mary E. Harned

Academic Articles

Health  Care  Reform  and Respect  for Human  Life: How  the  Process  Failed, William Saunders and Anna Franzonello
• NCBQ articles: Summer 2010; Winter 2010; Summer 2011

Key Blog Posts / Op-eds / Exhibits / Testimony

Saunders and Novick: Defunding Obamacare Would be a Pro-life Victory but HHS Mandate Would Remain, August 1, 2013
Saunders and Harned: 30 States Have no Opt-out Law Stopping Abortion Funding Under Obamacare, July 30, 2013
Testimony in Opposition to Washington HB 1044, April 1, 2013
AUL Legal Team: HHS releases “Phony Compromise” Regulations in Obamacare Feb. 4, 2013
Planned Parenthood Exhibit 20: “Shaping” Healthcare Reform to Advance a Pro-Abortion agenda
Harned:  Taxpayer funding of abortions set to increase under Obamacare, Oct. 31, 2012.
Harned:  Did Court Provide Legal Path to Defunding Planned Parenthood? Oct. 24, 2012.
AUL Legal Team: First Amendment Freedom of Conscience Trampled as Abortion Industry Pay-out Begins, Aug. 1, 2012.
AUL Legal Team: Initial Analysis of Supreme Court Ruling in Healthcare, June 28, 2012
Franzonello: “David v. Goliath”: Court Grants Preliminary Injunction to Protect Family Business Against the Obama Administration’s Conscience-Killing Mandate, July 27, 2012
AUL Legal Team: What the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare Means for Life, June 12, 2012
Franzonello: Sandra Fluke’s Bait and Switch, June 11, 2012
Franzonello: Different words, same policy, May 23, 2012
Harned: Another State Acts to Block Public Funding for Abortion, May 7, 2012
Franzonello: Abortion was Always Heart of Healthcare Overhaul, April 19, 2012
McConchie and Harned: Obamacare abortion mandate withers: More states opting out of extremist liberal plan, April 11, 2012
Harned: Confronting abortion premium mandate: Obamacare will force many to subsidize culture of death, March 28, 2012
Franzonello: Yes, It’s Unprecedented, Feb. 28, 2012
Saunders and Novick: Conscience Concerns Not All That’s Wrong with Obama Mandate, Feb. 2, 2012
Saunders and Harned: No, the Affordable Care Act is Not Pro-Life, Sept. 28, 2011
AUL Legal Team: Why the Executive Order Does Not Prevent Taxpayer Funded Abortion, March 21, 2010



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