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Congressional Members’ Statements on Contraceptive Coverage Rule Not Based in Fact

I used to think that making a statement on the floor of Congress required showing some respect for the venue in which you are speaking, including refraining from making untrue statements. Yesterday, several members of Congress have proven to me, again, that for some of them this just isn’t the case anymore. When speaking on the House floor today, several members claimed that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage rule would require employers to cover pills that cause abortions. This is simply false. The rule requires coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods. What is an FDA-approved contraceptive method? That’s easy enough to find right here on the FDA website. Pills, patch, IUDs, etc. The members of the House are probably conflating emergency contraception, which is an FDA-approved contraceptive method, with abortion. But as my colleague Jill Morrison pointed out last week, it’s not.

If I were a more generous person, I’d give these members of the House the benefit of the doubt and say they’re misinformed. But I know better – this is a message that the anti-choice activists are pushing. That’s why when our very own Judy Waxman was on Diane Rehm’s show last week, Mark Renzi (who represents the two colleges that have challenged the contraceptive coverage requirement) said the same thing about the rule requiring coverage of abortion. That’s why when a friend asked me to explain the rule to her this weekend, she told me it was to help her craft a fact-based argument to give to her mother who had been bombarded with emails from an anti-choice friend. Arm yourself with the facts so that you too can answer the “contraceptive coverage = abortion coverage” argument.

Read the preventive services guidelines this rule adopts, know what an FDA-approved contraceptive is, and you’ll know the truth. 


Don't forget the 99%...again

I think what is escaping all of the anti-contraceptive minds, is the fact that 99% of women use or have used contraceptives... 98% of Catholic women. In addition, many doctors prescribe contraceptives for medical treatments for women too. The discussion is about 50 years behind its time and shouldn't even be prevalent. This isn't about how contraception works, whether or not it's moral, or the "liberal politicians" taking religious rights away. This is about a group of money hungry, right wing politicians who are trying to paint our President as some sort of socialist dictator who is attacking religion. Anyone with any kind of common sense can see that argument to be absolutely ludicrous and it is obvious that the conservative extremists are just reaching and grabbing at whatever they can find....even if its outdated and completely irrelevant in today's world. Republicans should not forget that their consistent attacks on women have not gone unnoticed...we can and we do vote. Obama's healthcare laws have restored some dignity and balance to women's matter how hard they try, the GOP will not take us backwards. "Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people" Eleanor Roosevelt

Contraceptives with abortifacient effects

My concern with this blog post is that the FDA-approved contraceptives listed include in their self-descriptions of their mechanism, prevention of implantation of a fertilized embryo. I understand that sometimes fertilized embryos do not implant naturally, however, any contraceptive that encourages this process artificially is, in fact, acting as abortifacient to those who believe life begins at conception. I don't argue that life begins at conception, merely that those who hold this belief, if they take the information printed on contraceptive package inserts at face value, have a very legitimate claim that these contraceptives can act as abortifacients. That is the root of their moral opposition to hormonal birth control and IUDs, and the reason they are attempting to secure conscience clause exemptions from having to pay for these treatments in their health insurance premiums. Quite frankly, as someone who would like a conscience clause exemption from sending my tax money to fund death penalty executions, I understand and sympathize with their position.

Until the contraceptive manufacturers can clearly and unequivocally show that their products do not prevent implantation of fertilized embryos, they are going to be counted as abortifacient by the large population of people who believe life begins at conception. The onus of doing the good science to clear their products of this judgment is on the pharmaceutical industry.

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