Bishops: Health Care Law Should Not Fund Birth Control

Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:49pm

The political arm of the United States Catholic Church is once more weighing in on the Democrats’ health care reform law, this time encouraging regulators not to allocate taxpayer funds for birth control pills and other contraceptives.

In a letter released Monday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the Health and Human Services Department for attempting to cover the drugs as a “preventative” service as the agency implements this year’s massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“To prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease — indeed, contraceptives and sterilization pose their own unique and serious health risks to the patient,” the Catholic group wrote HHS officials Friday. “In addition, contraceptives and sterilization are morally problematic for many stakeholders, including religiously-affiliated health care providers and insurers.”

In the run-up to the bill’s passage, Catholic bishops temporarily stalled Democrats’ plan by saying the bill would underwrite taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

In its latest salvo, the bishops group said the drugs “pose an unprecedented threat to rights of conscience.”

“These drugs, devices and procedures prevent not a disease condition, but the healthy condition known as fertility,” the group’s lawyer, Anthony Picarello, said in a statement.