Mandatory Free Contraceptives, Sterilizations, Abortion-Inducing Drugs

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

( — The Obama administration is now officially declaring in the final text of a federal regulation that by requiring employers to provide women–but not men–with free sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs the government is actually forcing providers to accept a net economic gain because sterilizing and contracepting American women will result in fewer babies and reduce “employee absence.”

“Covering contraceptives also yields significant cost-savings,” says the regulation. “A 2000 study estimated that it would cost 15 to 17 percent more not to provide coverage in employee health plans than to provide such coverage, after accounting for both the direct medical costs of pregnancy and the indirect costs, such as employee absence.”

This is part of the final text of Obamacare’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation, which was released today–Friday–by Department of Health and Human Services. The regulation mandates that employers that provide health-care plans to their workers must include in those plans cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

The final regulation makes no exemption at all for individuals or for-profit companies that have moral or religious objections to sterilization, contraception, or abortion. The Catholic Church considers all three intrinsically immoral, and many other Christian denominations object to abortion as the taking of an innocent human life.

Catholics and Evengalical Christians have argued–including in dozens of ongoing federal court cases–that the regulation violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. The Catholic bishops of the United States unanimously approved a statement last year declaring the regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate.”

The final regulation released today says that religious non-profit organizations that provide health-care plans to their workers must have a system set up where those workers get coverage for free sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs as a matter of course when they join the religious non-profit’s own health plan. In such cases, under the regulation, the insurance company used by the religious non-profit would be forced to provide the free coverage directly to the employees of the religious non-profit. In the case of a self-insured religious non-profit, the third-party administrator of the plan will be forced to work with an insurance company to provide the free services.

The regulation would thus force religious organizations to become knowing conduits for their employee to access abortion-inducing drugs.

A summary of the final regulation put out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services argues that cost-free coverage of sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients will be “cost neutral.”

“Issuers generally would find that providing such contraceptive coverage is cost neutral because they would be they would be insuring the same set of individuals under both policies and would experience lower costs from improvements in women’s health and fewer childbirths,” says this summary.

But the text of the regulation itself says that mandating free sterilizations, contraceptives and pharmaceutical abortions will actually save money, because women will become pregnant less often and there will be less “employee absence” among femail workers.

The passage of the regulation making this argument bears a footnote indicating that this claim comes from testimony that the Guttmacher Institute gave to a committee commissioned by HHS to recommend the contraception mandate.

Dozens of Catholic and Evangelical Christian non-profit organizations and private business owners have sued to stop the regulation.