(CNSNews.com) – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed in a congressional hearing on Thursday that the new HHS regulation that requires all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilziations and all FDA-approved contraceptives will not require the plans to cover any abortifacients, which cause the death of a human embyro.
However, all FDA-approved contraceptives include emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Ella (Ulipristal), which do in fact cause the death of human embryos.
At a hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, Sebelius said, “There also is no abortifacient drug that is part of the FDA-approved contraception [list].”
Sebelius, under questioning by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), a clinical psychologist, said that the so-called “Morning After” pill is not an abortifacient because it does not interfere with pregnancy.
“It is a contraceptive drug, not an abortifacient,” she said. “It is not an abortifacient. It does not interfere with a pregnancy. If the morning after pill were taken and a female were pregnant, the pregnancy is not interrupted. That’s the definition of an abortifacient.”
However, the FDA list of approved contraceptive drugs does include morning after pills, such as Plan B and Ella that can work by blocking a human embryo from implanting in the uterus. When an embryo is blocked from implanting, the embryo dies.
As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), citing numerous medical studies, has reported, there are at least seven modes by which emergency contraception can “prevent the implantation or survival of the embryo.”
Also, in an Aug. 1, 2011 letter about the Obamacare regulation, the USCCB stated, “The drugs that Americans would be forced to subsidize under the new rule include Ella, which was approved by the FDA as an ‘emergency contraceptive’ but can act like the abortion drug RU-486. It can abort an established pregnancy weeks after conception. The pro-life majority of Americans – Catholics and others – would be outraged to learn that their premiums must be used for this purpose.”
The Obama administration, led by Secretary Sebelius, issued final regulations in February that would force all insurance companies to provide coverage of contraceptives – including morning after pills – without copays, exempting only religious employers that employ and serve members of their own faiths such as churches or seminaries. All other employers and all other individuals, Catholic or otherwise, would be required to pay into health insurance plans that offer abortifacients, artificial birth control, and sterilizations, which are contrary to Catholic teaching.
Sebelius said the administration was “hopeful” that religious employers who oppose providing contraception to their employees – but are not covered by the existing religious protections – would be satisfied with the new compromise HHS was currently working on.
“I’m hopeful that the rule that we intend to promulgate in the very near future – which will be informed by conversations with not only religious employers but labor leaders, women’s groups, and others and actually greatly informed by the 28 states that have a framework like [what] we’re talking about already in place – will indeed satisfy the religious liberty issues and make sure these preventive health benefits are provided.”
Concerning the regulation as ordered by Sebelius and the Obama administration, all 181 Catholic bishops in the United States, who speak for the Church and who represent 66 million Catholics nationwide, have denounced it and called for it to be rescinded.
The bishops oppose the mandate because, they argue, it is a violation of religious liberty under the First Amendment – in this case, the federal government forcing individual Catholics to subsidize products and services that are contrary to their religious beliefs.