Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Why Pro-Lifers Are Right to Be Concerned About Health-Care Reform


Tuesday’s Washington Post included an article that shows how health-care reform may result in a contraceptive-coverage mandate on health insurers.

This article is interesting to pro-lifers for a couple of reasons. First, as is typical of the Post and most other mainstream media outlets, contraception supporters receive far more coverage than their opponents: The Post quotes or cites six people who support contraceptive coverage, while only quoting one person — Deirdre McQuade from the USCCB — who opposes the policy.

More importantly, this article nicely shows why the pro-life movement has good reasons to oppose health-care-reform legislation: The contraceptives that might be covered could include abortifacients. These abortifacients would be subsidized by federal tax dollars. Additionally, a contraceptive mandate could effectively invalidate several state laws requiring that minors have parental permission before purchasing contraceptives.

Finally, the decision about whether health plans will be required to cover contraceptives is not going to be made by elected officials, but instead by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. Unfortunately, health-care reform removes a number of issues — including a number of issues pro-lifers care about — from the democratic process.

History shows that the pro-life movement almost always fares better when policy decisions are made by elected officials rather than through administrative or judicial fiat. The pro-life movement would do well to continue to support efforts to repeal the health-care-reform bill.

Michael New is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama and a fellow at Witherspoon Instititute in Princeton, N.J.


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