Thursday, February 23, 2012

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Seven states sue Obama administration over ObamaCare mandate

by Ben Johnson Thu Feb 23 18:09 EST Comments (10)

 
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

LANSING, MICHIGAN, February 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Seven states filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration today seeking to overturn the mandate that religious employers provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees as part of their health care plans.

The state attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas filed suit today in U.S. District Court, arguing that the mandate violates both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. All seven plaintiffs are Republicans.

“Religious liberty is America’s first freedom,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “Constitutional rights cannot be finessed. Religious liberty cannot be compromised. Any rule, regulation or law that forces faith-based institutions to provide for services that violate their free exercise of religion, or that penalizes them for failing to kneel at the altar of government, is a flat-out violation of the First Amendment.”

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said the requirement that religious employers subsidize products that violate their deeply held beliefs – with zero co-pay – “is a threat to every American, regardless of religious faith.”

“We will not stand idly by while our constitutionally guaranteed liberties are are discarded by an administration that has sworn to uphold them,” Bruning, who is a candidate for U.S. Senate in Nebraska, said.

The regulation extends the role of the state at the expense of the church, the plaintiffs say. “Government has no business forcing religious institutions and individuals to violate their sincerely held beliefs,” stated Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

By forcing all employers to do something that contradicts the tenets of their faith and granting an exceptionally narrow religious exemption, the mandate would “leave countless additional religious freedoms vulnerable to government intrusion and negation by coercion,”  the legal complaint states.

First Amendment concerns have not been allayed by the minor shift in policy President Obama announced on February 10. “The president’s so-called ‘accommodation’ was nothing but a shell game,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “The mandate still requires religious organizations to subsidize and authorize conduct that conflicts with their religious principles.”

Their legal complaint adds another objection: After faithful religious employers drop their insurance coverage, state Medicaid rolls will swell – something President Obama promised would not happen when he first proposed his health care legislation.

The rule “will place further stress on Plaintiff States’ Medicaid programs as they inevitably increase reliance on public resources for support.” Growing government dependence will further “threaten budget stability,” the lawsuit holds.

“The unfortunate reality is that many religious organizations will cease to offer health insurance and charities will stop offering services to the less fortunate because of this mandate,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “This is another example of why ObamaCare is bad policy, and it is another reason why I have joined attorneys general across this county to protect American families from its illegal overreach.” 

The seven states are joined by the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, Catholic Social Services, Pius X Catholic High School of Lincoln, Nebraska, and two private citizens, one of whom is a nun.

Sister Mary Catherine, CK, is a sister with the School Sisters of Christ the King in Lincoln, Nebraska. Stacy Molai is a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). Although Molai suffers “an incurable chronic illness,” she says she will drop her insurance coverage if it provides contraceptives and abortifacients.

Less than two weeks ago, Bruning told LifeSiteNews.com a coalition of state attorneys general would file a lawsuit within “weeks, not months.” Some 13 state AGs had just signed a letter to the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, stating their opposition to the mandate and noting they stood “prepared to vigorously oppose it in court.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has also filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian College, and the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) against the new health care rule.

Tags: bill schuette, greg abbott, jon bruning, mike dewine, pam bondi

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Homeschooling families can’t teach homosexual acts sinful in class says Alberta gvmt

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Feb 23 15:29 EST Comments (259)

 
“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” a government spokesperson told LifeSiteNews.

EDMONTON, Alberta, February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.

“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.

Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”

“A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed,” he added.

(Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage. )

The HSLDA and other homeschooling groups warned this week that the new Alberta Education Act, which was re-tabled by Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government on Feb. 14th to replace the existing School Act, threatens to mandate “diversity” education in all schools, including home schools.

Section 16 of the new legislation restates the current School Act’s requirement that schools “reflect the diverse nature” of Alberta in their curriculum, but it adds that they must also “honour and respect” the controversial Alberta Human Rights Act that has been used to target Christians with traditional beliefs on homosexuality. ‘School’ is defined to include homeschoolers and private schools in addition to publicly funded school boards.

McColl emphasized that homeschoolers were already included in the current definition of ‘school’ in the School Act, going back to 1988 or longer. And Section 16, she said, “is specifically with regards to programs, courses, and instructional materials.”

According to McColl, Christian homeschooling families can continue to impart Biblical teachings on homosexuality in their homes, “as long as it’s not part of their academic program of studies and instructional materials.”

“What they want to do about their ideology elsewhere, that’s their family business. But a fundamental nature of our society is to respect diversity,” she added.

Pressed about what the precise distinction is between homeschoolers’ instruction and their family life, McColl said the question involved “real nuances” and she would have to get back with specifics.

But in a second interview Wednesday evening, McColl said the government “won’t speculate” about particular examples, and explained that she had not yet gotten a “straight answer” on what exactly constitutes “disrespect.” She did say that families “can’t be hatemongering, if you will.”

In the first interview, she justified the government’s position by pointing to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Quebec government’s refusal to exempt families from its controversial ethics and religious culture program. That program, which aims to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, is required of all students, including homeschoolers.

“Just last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada released a unanimous decision on – now it’s S.L. v. the Commission scolare des Chênes 2012 – and that’s the same, section 16 has to apply to everyone, including home education families,” she said.

Pro-family observers warned that the ruling risked emboldening other provincial governments in their effort to impose “diversity” programs. The last two years have seen major battles in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and now Alberta over the increasing normalization of homosexuality in the schools.

The Supreme Court’s narrow ruling did not specifically address homeschooling, however, and left the door open to further court challenges. The court argued that the Quebec family seeking the exemption had simply failed to meet the burden of proof necessary to show that their children’s participation in the course would impede the parents’ ability to raise the children in their Catholic faith.

Patty Marler, government liaison for the Alberta Home Education Association, said she was surprised at the Ministry’s straightforwardness, and questioned how they are going to be able to draw the line between school time and family time.

“We educate our children all the time, and that’s just the way we live. It’s a lifestyle,” she said. “Making that distinction between the times when we’re homeschooling and when we’re just living is really hard to do.”

“Throw in the fact that I do use the Bible as part of my curriculum and now I’m very blatantly going to be teaching stuff that will be against [the human rights act],” she said.

Marler pointed out that the issue has direct implications on how families teach their children about marriage because the Alberta Human Rights Act was amended in 2009 to define marriage as between two “persons” instead of a man and a woman. “When I read Genesis and it talks about marriage being one man in union with one woman, I am very, very clearly opposing the human rights act that says it’s one person marrying another person,” she said.

According to Faris, the issue with McColl’s statements “isn’t about sexuality or anything else on the gay issue, it’s about the government trying to control how we teach our own children in our own homes.”

He said her comments are “particularly interesting in light of the - at the very least - misleading information that a lot of homeschoolers have been getting when they’re calling the Minister’s office, saying ‘Look, there’s no changes here. We’re not going to do anything differently’, and other things like that.”

“The long arm of the government wants to reach into family’s homes and control what they teach to their own children in their own homes about religion, sexuality, and morality,” he said. “These are not the words of a government that is friendly to homeschooling or to parental freedom.”

The Progressive Conservative government has 67 of the 83 seats in the province’s legislature, so the bill’s passage is essentially assured. But an election is imminent and the new right-wing Wildrose Alliance Party is expected to have a strong showing. A Forum Research poll last week showed the upstart party polling at 30% behind the government’s 37%.

The Home School Legal Defence Association is calling on Alberta citizens to contact the Education Minister and their elected representatives.


Contact Information:

Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk, Education Minister
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
edmonton.castledowns@assembly.ab.ca

Premier Alison Redford
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B7
Phone: 780-427-2251
E-mail: Use this form.

Contact info for Alberta MLAs.

Tags: homeschool, homosexuality

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In Alaska 40 Days volunteers brave 8 foot snowdrifts to stand outside Planned Parenthood

by Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Thu Feb 23 13:06 EST Comments (3)

 

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

I’m home for a few days — but David Bereit, 40 Days for Life’s national director, is on the road right now in Texas.

Last night, David spoke at the record TENTH campaign kickoff event in Bryan/College Station. He’s visiting the 40 Days for Life location in McKinney, Texas today.

From Bryan/College Station back in 2004, we’ve seen God take 40 Days for Life to some far away (and some very cold) places. Here are a couple of stories from local campaigns facing challenging situations.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

We refer to the current 40 Days for Life events as the “spring” campaign. But don’t tell that to the folks in Alaska! Anchorage has received more than 100 inches of snowfall already this winter. And it isn’t over yet.

Haylee Shields, the local coordinator, sent before-and-after photos showing the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood — before and after some of the 8-foot snowdrifts were plowed away.

All that snow has done nothing to deter the spirit of the volunteers taking part in 40 Days for Life.

“We’re gearing up and getting excited for what could be the best campaign we’ve ever had,” Haylee said.

“We have been spending time together in prayer, and we are trusting the Lord to do great things as we follow His will.”

Yes, it’s cold. And yes, there’s a WHOLE LOT of snow. But many are answering the call to take a public stand against the evil of abortion.

“Please remember that we are the visible sign that the church of God will not stand idly by while abortions are being committed in our communities,” Haylee told local volunteers. “You can make a difference in this fight for life!”

RENO, NEVADA

The Reno/Tahoe area has been faithfully involved in nearly every coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign. But they’d never gotten any media attention — until now.

This time, the campaign kickoff event generated several reports from two local newspapers and one TV station.

The event featured testimony from a woman who’d had three abortions when she was younger — including one at the facility where the 40 Days for Life vigil is taking place in Reno. “I have a responsibility to speak the truth,” she said. “Every time we have the opportunity to speak the truth, it’s a gift.”

This abortion center features a series of signs along its fence, all of them designed to encourage prayer volunteers to go home. One reads, “Protesters are terrorists.” That’s one of the milder ones.

In the past, the abortionist has used a sound system to blare out obscene music. He has also turned on a sprinkler system during the prayer vigils. The sprinklers have been pointed directly at the sidewalk where the volunteers conduct their campaign.

But they will continue to stand and pray.

“We are going to pray for an end to abortion in our country,” one local pastor told the crowd. “We are going to appeal to the divine source to bring about a change of hearts and minds of the people of this land.”

Here’s the link to today’s devotional.

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Vatican gives ultimatum to wayward Catholic university: conform to Church law by April 8

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu Feb 23 12:56 EST Comments (19)

 

February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican has issued an ultimatum to a Peruvian Catholic university known for its deviation from Church teaching, giving it a deadline of April 8 to change its statutes to bring it into conformity with Church law.

Although the Holy See’s communique on the matter, displayed on its website, does not state what the consequences would be should the institution fail to comply, various Peruvian publications and broadcasters are reporting that the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) would be required to jettison the words “Pontifical” and “Catholic” from its name.

The ultimatum follows months of talks between Vatican officials and the wayward institution, which employs professors that speak against the Catholic Church’s moral doctrines regarding abortion and homosexuality.

The Holy See ordered the PUCP to change its statutes in July of last year to submit to Church control after decades of resistance, and is now indicating that it is no longer willing to wait.

Following a meeting this week between the university’s rector, Marcial Rubio Correa, and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Tarcicio Bertone, “the Most Eminent Secretary of State has notified Doctor Rubio Correa that the statutes of the PUCP must be regularized as soon as possible, conforming them to the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, for the good of the same PUCP and the Church in Peru,” Vatican Radio reported yesterday.

“Given the evident importance of safeguarding the Catholic identity of the University, the Most Eminent Secretary of State has therefore asked that the competent academic authorities present, before the next April 8, Easter Sunday, the statutes with the amendments required of the university on the 16th of July, 2011, for their approval,” the report added.

In addition to losing its Catholic and Pontifical titles, the PUCP could lose far more, according to canon lawyer Fernán Altuve. It could also lose the inheritance that was left to the institution in the 1940s on condition that it function as a Catholic institution.

“If you’re not a Catholic university and you don’t have the recognition of the Vatican, you cannot use that for the purposes of Catholic education. So, you have to return those properties,” Altuve told the Peruvian daily El Cormercio in a recent interview. The property, he said, would therefore “revert to the Archdiocese of Lima.”

University defiant

Despite the warning, the University’s administration is maintaining a defiant tone, citing the decision of the University Assembly, the “highest instance of (university) government” last September 23, “to not approve the modifications to the statutes of the University, because they go against our autonomy.”

“Our university is regulated by the Political Constitution of Peru, by Peruvian legislation, and its statutes,” the PUCP adds.

The Church’s Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae requires the university to operate in conformity with the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. It states, “In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”

The same Constitution requires a majority of the faculty to consist of faithful Catholics, and mandates that the university provide students with “formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church.” Despite the PUCP’s “Catholic” title, its administration appears reluctant to accept such principles.

“The university supports the Church, but respects diversity. There are diverse ways of living Catholicism. We have a more social theology, and this is disliked in the most conservative sectors,” Marcial Rubio, the university’s rector, said last year as the conflict began.

“They want to intervene when it is believed that a professor doesn’t have a moral conduct that they consider correct,” the university’s Vice-Rector for Research, Pepi Patron Costa, told the BBC last year. “It is direct interference. For certain sectors of the Catholic Church we are not sufficiently Catholic.”

Students are also organizing protests, claiming that the whole affair is nothing more than an attempt by Lima’s archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani to seize the university for himself. Although the statutes of the university technically recognize him as Grand Chancellor, his attempts to bring the PUCP into conformity with Church law have been repeatedly rebuffed, and he is not permitted to pick the rector under current statutes. The Vatican is seeking to restore his right to do so, which was taken from the archbishop of Peru in the 1970s.

“Promoters of abortion and gender ideology”

Carlos Polo, a Peruvian Catholic who heads the Latin America office of the Population Research Institute, and who received his degree in Social Anthropology from the PUCP in 1987, told LifeSiteNews that the university has been the stomping ground of radical leftists for decades.

“Many of the principal promoters of abortion and gender ideology in Peru work in the University or in the institutes that depend on it.  Many of the NGOs with this anti-life ideology receive financing from the University or receive its academic support,” said Polo.

“The attitude of the authorities of the University is absolutely contrary to the spirit of Catholicism. They have ignored the request to reformulate their statutes that was made for the first time almost 30 years ago through the (Papal) Nuncio,” Polo said.

“They publicly insult Cardinal Cipriani, who is the Great Chancellor of the University and they promote protests that are injurious to the students against the Cardinal and against the Catholic Church in general, and they have misinformed the public, repeating that their statutes are in accordance with Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Today, following the ultimatum of Rome, it is clear that they were far from the truth.”

The firm actions of the Holy See with regard to the PUCP may signal a new approach to Catholic universities worldwide, many of which rejected episcopal oversight and Catholic doctrine in the chaos of the 1970s. Today, many universities with “Catholic” in their titles play host to professors who actively work to subvert Church teachings, especially those regarding the right to life and sexual morality.

Tags: abortion, catholic, homosexuality, peru

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Honduran Supreme Court upholds ban on abortifacient ‘emergency contraception’

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu Feb 23 12:31 EST Comments (0)

February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) has ruled that legislation passed in 2009 forbidding the sale of “emergency contraception” is constitutional.

The reason cited by the Court was a simple one: “emergency contraception” also known as the “morning after pill,” can, in fact, cause early abortions.

The 2009 law against emergency contraception was originally vetoed by socialist president José Manuel Zelaya, making the issue a matter before the Supreme Court. However, Zelaya was soon removed from office by the same Supreme Court for violations of the Constitution, following which the country’s new secretary of health issued a regulation banning the sale of the drug, which studies suggest can prevent the newly conceived human embryo from implanting in the uterine wall.

However, the regulatory decree could not be backed by penal sanctions until the Supreme Court issued its verdict on the constitutionality of the previous law. The government will now be free to create such sanctions to protect the unborn, and fulfill the Constitution’s protection of all human life.

Article 65 of the Honduran Constitution states that “the right to life is inviolable” and article 67 specifies that “the unborn are considered to have been born in everything that favors them, within the limits established by law.”

Tags: abortion, emergency contraception, honduras

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Undercover sting: UK abortion clinics performing illegal abortions, ‘no questions asked’

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu Feb 23 11:58 EST Comments (3)

 
An employee in one abortion facility arranging for an illegal abortion.

MANCHESTER, February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – British abortion facilities are conducting illegal abortions, including for reasons of sex-selection, an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph has revealed. The report has triggered an investigation into abortion practices by the Department of Health.

Pro-life leaders, however, have responded with a complete lack of surprise, saying that the permissiveness of current law and society makes sex-selective abortion “inevitable.”

The Telegraph’s investigation simply confirms “the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine” said Anthony Ozimic, communications director for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

Telegraph reporters accompanied pregnant women to nine abortion facilities around the country. In three of these, doctors were recorded “offering to arrange terminations after being told the mother-to-be did not want to go ahead with the pregnancy because of the sex of the unborn child.”

In one case in Manchester, the doctor asked the woman if she was sure of her reasons. The woman responded, “Oh, absolutely … I can’t have it, this baby, because of the gender, so that’s just how it is.” The abortion was booked for the following week with no further questions asked. 

UK law technically requires that abortions occur only for the approved reasons, which do not currently include sex-selection. But at one facility a woman was told by a medical consultant, “I don’t ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination.”

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley responded to the revelations, saying he is “extremely concerned.” Sex selection is still technically illegal in Britain, and Lansley called it “morally wrong.”

“If this is happened not only is it criminal act but it entails professionals falsifying the reports. It’s a shocking thing to have happened. We will follow it up urgently,” he said.

The Department of Health has also said that it is following up on the allegations. “Following this mornings reports in the Telegraph, we will be speaking to the police,” they said in a statement. “Criminal offences may have been committed and we will take urgent action. We will be speaking to the GMC to ask them to investigate individual clinicians and we have asked the Care Quality Commission to urgently inspect the named clinics.

While the Telegraph’s story is making waves among some politicians, pro-life leaders have long pointed out that the surviving legal restrictions on abortion are effectively meaningless. Joseph Lee, spokesman for the SPUC in Scotland, told LifeSiteNews.com that these revelations might be shocking to the general public, they will “shock none who are active in the pro-life movement.”

The abortion lobby, he said, has a stance “rooted firmly in the ideology of ‘choice.’”
“How can they do anything other than defend a woman’s right to choose to abort her child simply because the child is female?

“Maybe when society wakes up to the fact that so-called ‘women’s rights’ are being used to kill girls, it will start to question the radically pro-abortion culture that it has accepted for the past 45 years.”

Andrew Stephenson, the head of Abort 67 – a group that confronts the abortion industry head on with street displays of graphic images of aborted children – commented, “How can the Department of Health recognise the immorality of killing people based on their gender but accept all the other reasons that women have abortions?”

Stephenson’s work brings him into daily contact with abortion-minded women. He said, “One girl who came across us in Brighton told us she had an abortion because she didn’t think her dog would cope with a baby.”

“Some innocent human beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live,” Anthony Ozimic said. “Sex-selective abortion is an inevitable consequence of easy access to abortion, a situation to which the pro-abortion lobby has no convincing answer.

“The government needs to cut its ties to private abortion providers and to abortion rights organisations”

He pointed out that the British government is already actively “complicit” in supporting sex-selective abortions through China’s population control programs. He observed that there is wide support in Parliament for further loosening of existing abortion restrictions despite the fact that the status quo already effectively provides abortion-on-demand.

Politicians are under constant pressure to abolish all restrictions on abortion from bodies such as the British Medical Association, which wants to see midwives qualified to abort children. Even labor unions, traditionally powerful on the left, have declared they will lobby for abortion on demand.

Under current British law, abortions are technically restricted to a particular set of criteria. The age limit for an abortion for children deemed healthy is 24 weeks gestation, and abortion is allowed for reasons of “mental health” of the woman or “any existing children.” Women are free to give any reason for abortion that fits the legal criteria and no system exists for confirmation.

Since the Abortion Act was amended in 1990, there are no restrictions at all on killing children with disabilities, a change that pro-life leaders denounced as outright endorsement of eugenics. While the law states that abortions can be carried out only with the signature of two physicians, it has been revealed that most abortion facilities keep stacks of pre-signed permission forms on hand, making this “restriction” effectively meaningless.

The British government does keep and publish records of the number of abortions that fall under each category, and these have shown that the numbers of eugenic abortions have skyrocketed since the amendment. Thousands of British children are killed every year for non-lethal conditions such as Down’s syndrome or cleft palate or club foot.

Tags: abortion, sex-selection, uk

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Pharmacists: No, birth control will not pay for itself under Obama mandate

by Ben Johnson Thu Feb 23 09:39 EST Comments (14)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – When he promulgated his “accommodation” to his unpopular abortifacient birth control mandate, President Barack Obama insisted, “The overall cost of health care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.” But America’s pharmacists, who dispense the drug, disagree.

Reimbursement Intelligence asked 15 pharmacy directors, representing more than 100 million covered lives, what effect the president’s mandate that insurance companies provide “free” contraceptives would have on their bottom line.

Not a single respondent to the survey thought prices would go down; a plurality believed prices would increase because of the mandate.

In all, 40 percent said the mandate will raise prices; 33 percent are unsure of its effect; 20 percent say it will have no effect, because they already cover contraceptives.

A mere seven percent said it would increase pharmaceutical costs but reduce medical costs.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

One respondent said insurance companies will “need to raise prices, change cost structures, and pass along additional costs to our customers.”

“Of note, none of the respondents thought the mandated coverage would lead to net cost savings by preventing unintended pregnancies – one of the stated objectives for the inclusion of this benefit,” Reimbursement Intelligence observed.

Health insurers, which are reticent about involving themselves in a potentially losing political battle, have quietly criticized the notion that the new proposal helps their bottom line.

A health insurance industry source, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Hill newspaper, “Saying it’s revenue-neutral doesn’t mean it’s free and that you’re not paying for it.” The trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans worries about the “precedent” the mandate sets.

“Pharmacy companies are businesses, and businesses – unlike the federal government – understand that the cost of providing any service has to be paid for by someone,” Dr. Samuel Gregg, research director at the Acton Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com. “In this instance, that means the costs of not-so-free contraception will either come out of the insurance companies’ profits (making them wonder why they have to provide this ‘free’ service), or the costs will be passed on to the policy-holders.”

“Birth control pills don’t fall from the sky like manna,” economic writer Sheldon Richman told LifeSiteNews.com.

Insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski estimated insurances plans will “have to front about $360 per person who uses the birth control pill.”

“I have never seen an example of the federal government telling a company they have to provide a service and they are not allowed to charge for it,” he wrote. 

The survey called into question the notion that women have limited access to contraceptives under the present insurance structure. All plans in the survey cover oral contraceptives, the contraceptive patch, ring, injections, and the IUD. Only one excluded the morning after pill.

All plans cover general oral contraceptives at an average co-pay of $10. Two-thirds cover brand-name versions of the pill with the patient’s share ranging from $35 to $60.

As well, although the Obama administration claims contraceptives save money by reducing fertility, experts are increasingly taking note of the economic dangers presented by a falling birthrate.

A 1999 United Nations report warned demographic trends in developed countries will cause havoc with “social security schemes, particularly traditional pay-as-you-go systems where current workers pay for the benefits of current retirees.” UN Statistics chief Dr. Joseph Chamie warned ten years ago, “The age of retirement will have to increase. The benefits to the elderly will probably decrease. Taxation for the workers will probably increase.”

Those warnings increasingly apply to the U.S., with its birth rate having dropped below replacement level in 2008.

An aging workforce has been associated with lower investment rates, a loss of human capital, and less mobility, among many other negative factors.

 

Tags: economics

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