The contraceptive mandate

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Editor:

Regarding the front page article, Aug. 5, “Cardinal criticizes contraceptive mandate.” The mandate from the Dept. of Health and Human Services requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for “preventive” services including all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, free of co-pays, should give cause for reflection.

First, nothing is “free.” Removing co-pays from contraceptives does not make these drugs and devices cost-free. Rather, the payment for them is simply shifted and the increased cost of health insurance will be passed on to consumers. Under the HHS mandate, everyone pays: conscientious objection or not.

Second, contraceptives are not “preventive” of disease, as pregnancy is not a disease. In reality, birth control prevents a major part of the woman’s body from functioning properly; it makes a healthy reproductive system “sick.” Is this really health care?

In fact, as of 2011, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has listed estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives under the Group 1 carcinogens (known to cause cancer in humans.)

Third, the conscience protections for health care workers and institutions should be broadened to avoid forcing those who have personal objections to include contraceptives in their insurance plans. Many people who desire to respect life have concerns about drugs and devices labeled by the FDA as “contraceptives” but that have life-ending mechanisms of action. The death of newly-conceived life is also not “health care.”

And, lastly, the list of FDA-approved contraceptives does not include natural methods of birth regulation. Natural family planning (NFP) methods should be covered because they are as effective as contraceptives, yet do not have the list of unhealthy potential side effects, such as strokes, blood clots, cancer, etc., that are associated with contraceptives. NFP is also a more environmentally responsible method than contraceptives with all of their processing, packaging, transportation, and synthetic hormone residuals discharged into the environment.

For more information on natural family planning (NFP): a healthy alternative, see www.ccli.org or www.pnfpn.org

Cecilia LeChevallier

Voorhees