Your Health Insurance Pays for Abortion–Just the Facts

The following is a consolidated summary of the primary points of which Christians should be aware concerning how the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare. The PPACA and the Health and Human Services mandates, with a particular focus on concerns regarding health insurance coverage of abortion-causing drugs and devices, now immediately impact you.  

A.  Health Insurance plans nationwide are now mandated to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives. Some of these actually cause abortion. These mandates took effect on August 1, 2012; for some narrowly defined religious institutions (see #2), the effective date was delayed until August 1, 2013.

“The HHS mandate requires coverage of ‘all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.’ HHS claims in a fact sheet that the mandate does ‘not include abortifacient drugs.’[1] However, the regulation itself, which takes precedence over any governmental ‘fact sheet,’ contains no such exclusion. Moreover, studies show that at least one drug approved by the FDA for ‘contraceptive use,’ a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486 (mifepristone), can cause an abortion when taken to avoid pregnancy.[2][3]

B.  In the rulemaking process following the passage of the PPACA the administration has defined what it means to be a religious organization. Only organizations meeting all four of the following criteria are exempt from paying for insurance plans which cover abortion-causing contraceptives:

1) Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose;

2) Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets;

3) Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and

4) Is a non-profit organization under section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code.[4]

CompassCare—and any faith-based organization serving or evangelizing non-members—fails to meet this criteria.

C.  Even organizations which meet the above criteria for religious exemption will not actually be able to avoid paying for abortion-causing contraception, because the so-called “accommodation”[5] made by the administration simply requires the insurance companies to provide coverage, rather than the employer. But where will the insurance companies get the money to cover abortion? From their customers monthly premiums.

D.  As of 2014, the “Individual mandate” takes effect, which requires all individuals who are not covered under private insurance to purchase health insurance through a state exchange. Any participant in a state health insurance exchange which covers elective abortions will pay at least $1/month directly from their paycheck into a fund to be used only for elective abortions of all types.[6]

E.  There are currently 40 lawsuits involving over 110 plaintiffs filed in opposition to the HHS mandates.[7]

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[2] The drug in question is ulipristal (HRP 2000, or Ella). See A. Tarantal, et al., “Effects of Two Antiprogestins on Early Pregnancy in the Long-Tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis),” 54 Contraception 107-115 (1996), at 114 (“studies with mifepristone and HRP 2000 have shown both antiprogestins to have roughly comparable activity in terminating pregnancy when administered during the early stages of gestation”); G. Bernagiano & H. von Hertzen, “Towards more effective emergency contraception?”, 375 The Lancet 527-28 (Feb. 13, 2010), at 527 (“Ulipristal has similar biological effects to mifepristone, the antiprogestin used in medical abortion”).

[3] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Re: Interim Final Rules on Preventive Services File Code CMS-9992-IFC2” August 31, 2011. Available from: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/hhs-mandate/upload/Interim-Final-Rules-on-Preventive-Services.pdf

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