Monday, February 6, 2012

War on Women and Their Healthcare Needs

[Cartoon Credit: Jim Morin, Miami Herald]

That issue tied to the subject posted below should concern every women in America - the battle has begun - the war is going to be very long (again):

HHS announced earlier this month that all employers’ health care plans would be required to provide full coverage for a range of preventive health services for women, including the cost of contraception.

The rule exempts houses of worship like churches or synagogues, but other nonprofits with religious affiliations – for instance a Catholic University – would have to comply. Most employers will have until August 1, 2012 to meet the rule, but religiously-affiliated nonprofits will have an extra year.

The back blast and fallout has started. Not everyone supports the new rules.

1. The Family Research Council claims the decision “undermines the conscience rights of many Americans.”

2. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of Committee on Pro-Life Activities with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says “pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.”

3. Many others feel the decision forces people to participate who may hold strong moral or religious convictions and oppose any contraception use.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions offering health insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services.

Not only that, but this important part is being overlooked (mostly for political gain: Supporters of the policy decision have said that full coverage of birth control costs is one of the most popular parts of the new health care reform law. For example, a 2010 Hart Research poll commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund showed that 71 percent of American voters (including 77 percent of Catholic women voters) have supported having health plans cover prescription birth control at no cost.

Background on the HHS Ruling

• The ruling requires health insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 to cover several women's preventive services, including birth control, and voluntary sterilization.

• According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the decision is a part of the Affordable Care Act's move to stop problems before they start she said in a press release, “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”

• In July, the Institute of Medicine issued the results of a scientific review of women's health needs and provided recommendations on specific preventive measures to help them. Thus, HHS approved those recommendations.

• Besides contraceptive use, the list includes screenings for conditions such as gestational diabetes and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), as well as breastfeeding support and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases.

The full list is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

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