After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.source
The birth control question has sparked a rare spectacle as the two most influential lobbies on sexual health forcefully butt heads over an issue many other interest groups consider secondary.
Planned Parenthood immediately cheered the IOM report Tuesday, the result of a study commissioned by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and a critical leg-up for the abortion giant’s campaign.
“We’re so close to a monumental victory that will change the lives of millions of women,” wrote Planned Parenthood on Facebook, where the group simultaneously posted a new video of “Pillamina,” the foam-flanked mascot of the free birth control campaign.
The report recommended that artificial birth control, including the abortifacient morning-after pill and “ella” drug, would be counted as an essential “preventive service” that health insurers would be forced to completely cover under the new federal health care law.
Such a mandate would likely provide a major funding boost to Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading birth control providers, especially as the group struggles against numerous state-level defunding efforts this year.
“Half of all pregnancies that happen in the U.S. every year are unintended, and if we could prevent an epidemic of this proportion, that should be justification enough that contraception is preventive care,” said Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services in a report on NPR’s health blog.
However, a statement from the leader of the U.S. bishops’ conference strongly challenged Planned Parenthood and the IOM report on the same day, criticizing the notion that sexual activity’s normal result is a malady in need of cure.
“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” said USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo Tuesday.
Like other conservative leaders, the USCCB president noted that the mandate would violate the conscience rights of Americans morally opposed to birth control, and objected to coverage of “emergency contraception” such as ella, a chemical functionally identical to the abortion drug RU-486.
But the cardinal’s challenge did not stop there: DiNardo noted that the IOM report was so radical as to have indicated interest in recommending full abortion coverage as well. The report stated that, “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women,” abortion was outside of the project’s scope given federal legal restrictions.
“But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious,” wrote the cardinal, who noted the celebration of Planned Parenthood, “the single largest abortion provider in the United States,” over the report.
“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said.
Now, we just need to get the USCCB and the bishops to realize that there is much more to having a Catholic face than just the pro-life issue. I am not discrediting the stance, I am applauding it, but I am also calling for the bishops to hold to all things Catholic. Our identity as Catholics is not 100% on the Pro-life movment. We are 100% pro-life as Catholics, but we are so much more. This is only one facet of Catholicism in America. Just think how strong Catholicism would be if the bishops would put this much energy into all things Catholic. As it is, they don't and the only really traditional value they hold strong to is the pro-life stance. And even then, it is sometimes suspect, as with giving pro-aborts Holy Communion and honorary doctorates and supporting the CCHD, which is a veil for community building, Alinsky style.
We need to demand that our bishops don't just hang their hats on being pro-life. They need to hang their hats on being Catholic in all things....
Praise God they took the stand they did, now let's implore them to do this in all things Catholic...from the Sacraments, to the Mass, to the rest of Catholic life.