SAN DIEGO, August 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of Catholic physicians is launching a protest against recent federal guidelines that would force all insurers to provide contraception and abortifacient birth control drugs free of co-pay.
St. Gianna Physician’s Guild this week launched an online petition requesting the Obama administration and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to immediately withdraw the mandate to provide contraception coverage in the new “Guidelines for Women’s Preventive Services,” and provide adequate conscience protections.
The new guidelines, announced by health officials on August 1, limits the minimum package that all health insurance policies must legally provide by August 2012 under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The document was drafted according to recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, which had listed the medical benefit of birth control as “the ability to plan one’s family and attain optimal birth spacing,” and secondarily, as treatment for conditions including acne and menstrual abnormalities.
The inclusion of birth control as an essential “preventive service” followed months of extensive lobbying by Planned Parenthood, a leading contraception advocate as well as the nation’s largest abortion provider.
While administration officials pointed out a conscience clause within the guidelines for religious providers, U.S. bishops and other critics denounced the wording as dangerously flimsy, as they apply only to religious institutions that serve members of their own sect.
Particularly alarming for Christian doctors are the mandate’s implications for drugs like Ella, an FDA-approved “contraceptive” that, like its sister drug RU-486, can kill a child days after conception.
“We are going to send a message to the Obama Administration that this contraception mandate is wrong, discriminatory and violates the religious rights of Catholics all across America,” stated the Guild’s president, Thomas McKenna.