While most Americans were fixated on the debt ceiling debate, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the opportunity on Monday to decree that, under Obamacare, all Americans will hereby be required to pay for other people’s birth control pills and morning-after pills — including a morning-after pill that is a close cousin of the abortion pill, RU-486. Insurers will be banned from charging recipients any co-pays, co-insurance charges, or deductibles for such pills, and the citizenry as a whole will therefore share the costs.
As of August 1st of next year, the morning-after pills that must be provided free of charge, from coast to coast, will include Plan B and ella. Both drugs arguably act, in part, as abortifacients — by keeping a fertilized egg (or a newly conceived being) from implanting in the uterine wall. (“Pregnancy” is no longer medically defined as commencing with conception, but days later, at implantation.) None other than Planned Parenthood — a favorite of President Obama — admits that taking a morning-after pill not only helps prevent ovulation but also “thins the lining of the uterus,” adding, “In theory, this could prevent pregnancy by keeping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.”
There are mixed opinions about whether Plan B (which is similar to the pill) sometimes acts as an abortifacient, but the verdict is clearer with ella — a drug that Planned Parenthood “played an integral role” in developing. Last year, under the Obama administration, the FDA approved ella without classifying it as an abortifacient, but the evidence suggests that the classification is wrong.
CBS News notes ella’s “chemical similarity” to RU-486 (which will not be “free” under Obamacare). The New York Times describes it as being RU-486’s “chemical relative.” The Washington Post describes it as being RU-486’s “close chemical relative.” WebMD says that it works to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg — in other words, as an abortifacient. Dr. Justo Aznar writes that between 50 percent and 70 percent of the time, ella “will act by an abortive mechanism.” The European Medicine Agency acknowledges that the drug has the "ability to delay maturation of the endometrium likely resulting in prevention of implantation."
Far from denying that ella can prevent implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb, the FDA observes that it could potentially cause an abortion even later. It notes that there "are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women" pertaining to ella, while the drug has been found to cause abortions in pregnant rats and rabbits: "Embryofetal loss was noted in all pregnant rats and in half of the pregnant rabbits," the FDA declared.
Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council writes that, like RU-486, ella not only works to prevent implantation but also causes embryos to be aborted post-implantation. She writes, “Plan B can prevent an embryo from implanting in the uterus, thereby causing its demise. However, Plan B cannot terminate an already implanted embryo.... Ella can cause the demise of an embryo that is already implanted in its mother’s womb, in addition to preventing implantation after fertilization.” Dr. Rich Poupard of the Life Training Institute (who doesn’t think that Plan B likely acts as an abortifacient) says that “ella is basically RU-486.” He explains that both drugs act to block implantation, and, if implantation does occur, they act to prevent progesterone from adhering to the uterine lining, thereby denying the embryo the nutrients it needs to survive.
In addition to morning-after pills and the pill, Sebelius’s pronouncement covers other territory. She has decided that everyone will now be on the hook for sharing the costs accrued by those who rent breastfeeding equipment, who undergo “sterilization procedures,” or who receive “comprehensive lactation support and counseling” — all of which will soon be required to be free at the point of service.
So, under Sebelius’s decree, anyone with cancer, a heart ailment, or a major injury will have to pay copays and deductibles, but anyone who wants to go on the pill or rent breastfeeding equipment won’t incur any personal cost — and nobody will be free to decide otherwise. In other words, certain forms of voluntary or elective care (the type of care that a lot of health insurance might well be expected not to cover at all, and once didn’t) will now be granted a status more favorable than is accorded serious medical conditions. Sebelius has turned things on their head — and imposed that inversion across the land. This is what politicized medicine looks like.
In all, Sebelius’s decree will prevent Americans from freely deciding what they want their own health policies to cover. It will force them to pay for other people’s care — even if they find that care to be morally objectionable. It will force those who have religious or moral objections to contraception to pay for contraception — including long-term contraception that many people now assume they can’t afford. And it will force even the most ardent pro-lifer to pay for abortion pills.
Sebelius cavalierly describes the policy she’s imposing nationally as a no-brainer, declaring, “Not doing it would be like not covering flu shots.”