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HHS releases guidelines requiring insurance companies provide free birth control, etc.

August 1, 2011 by  

HHS releases guidelines requiring insurance companies provide free birth control, etc.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines today, requiring that insurance companies ensure women are provided preventive health services at no additional cost.

“Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible,” read an HHS press release.

“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”

According to an article on CNN.com, many pro-life groups are displeased with the guidelines, claiming they may undermine individual religious rights. They fear that pro-life employers may be required to provide these services against their conscience, through mandated health insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act.

However, “[t]he 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,” the article read.

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

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