The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) not to include contraception or sterilization among a range of “preventive services” the HHS will mandate for all health plans.
In a September 17 memo, the USCCB counsel says that contraception and sterilization cannot reasonably be considered “preventive services” when:
- Abortion is not a disease.
- Most pregnancies end in live birth, not abortion.
- The percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion is higher if the pregnancy occurred during use of a contraceptive.
- Numerous studies show that contraceptive use does not reliably or consistently reduce abortion rates.
The USCCB also notes that “use of prescription contraception actually increases a woman’s risk of developing some of the very conditions that ‘preventive services’ . . . are designed to prevent.” (emphasis in original)
Finally, the USCCB notes that any mandate of contraceptive or sterilization coverage “would pose an unprecedented threat to the rights of conscience for religious employers and others who have moral or religious objections to these procedures.”