US Bishops: Contraception a Misfit on Health List

Spokeswoman Reminds That Pregnancy Isn't a Disease

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops' conference is urging the Institute of Medicine to refrain from recommending contraception and sterilization among mandated "preventive services."



Deirdre McQuade addressed Tuesday the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women.

The mandated “preventive services” will be announced in August by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as it implements the new health care act. The institute is to provide a recommendation for which services to include.

"As you study the vital question of preventive services for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), I urge you to focus on services that will offer authentic care and save lives,” McQuade said.

She noted that preventing pregnancy is not preventing disease.

"Indeed," the spokeswoman affirmed, "contraception and sterilization pose their own unique and serious health risks to women and adolescents. In addition, contraceptives and sterilization are morally problematic for many stakeholders, including religiously-affiliated health care providers and insurers."

Preventive services recommended with the Interim Final Rules share a basic medical profile, McQuade noted. Contraception, however, "presents the opposite profile."

Services on the list include such things as blood pressure screening and immunizations.

Prescription contraception, on the other hand, "actually increases a woman’s risk of developing some of the very conditions that the ‘preventive services’ listed in the Interim Final Rules are designed to prevent, such as stroke, heart attacks and blood clots [...] so a policy mandating contraceptive services as ‘preventive services’ would be in contradiction with itself," she said.

The spokeswoman also pointed to a potential impact on conscience rights.

"The administration rightly does not include contraceptives or sterilization as preventive services in its Interim Final Rules," McQuade stated, "and future rulemaking or other guidance should also refrain from doing so."