Representative Mike Kelly Sends Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Demanding Rescission of Controversial Contraceptive Mandate

Sep 27, 2011

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Julia Thornton

September 27, 2011

202-525-0182

 

Representative Mike Kelly Sends Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Demanding Rescission of Controversial Contraceptive Mandate

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) sent a letter today to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, calling on her to rescind a new federal mandate requiring all health insurance plans to cover contraceptives, including those commonly referred to as “emergency contraception.” As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” the mandate would force employers to cover FDA-approved emergency contraception such as the highly controversial drug ulipristal acetate (ella), which shares the relevant chemical properties of the abortion drug mifepristone (RU-486). Ella has also been found to be embryotoxic in animal studies, functioning as a progesterone receptor blocker that can prevent a newly conceived human being, post-fertilization, from implanting in the uterine lining. 

While the mandate includes a “religious employer” exemption for certain faith-based organizations, the exemption is narrowly defined, excluding a number of religious institutions that are morally opposed to the drugs covered in the mandate. Among several organizations protesting the mandate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a 35-page comment calling the mandate “unprecedented in federal law and more radical than any state contraceptive mandate enacted to date.”

Representative Kelly issued the following statement:

“This mandate poses a serious threat to our constitutionally protected religious freedoms. To force an organization, such as Catholic Charities in Pittsburgh, to provide coverage for drugs that it considers morally objectionable and that violate the very tenets of its faith, is an attack on its religious liberty. While there is an exemption within the mandate, it doesn’t go far enough, forcing religious employers to either provide health insurance coverage that is inimical to their basic religious beliefs; to stop providing coverage to their employees; or, in some cases, to close their doors to the communities they serve. None of these outcomes is acceptable, and I will continue to fight to have this mandate rescinded.”

The mandate will take effect in August 2012. HHS is accepting public comments on the mandate through September 30, 2011. To submit a comment, visit: 

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=HHS-OS-2011-0023-0002.

A copy of the letter is attached and can be found at: http://kelly.house.gov/sites/kelly.house.gov/files/images/SebeliusLetter.pdf.

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