Guidelines on Women's Health Issued

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has recommended that certain forms of birth control should be among the mandated services offered in basic health insurance plans under the new health care reform law.

The recommendations were made to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and have not yet been approved by the government.

Cardinal DiNardo, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement denouncing some of the provisions as they relate to contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. "I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine's recommendation today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of three particular practices in almost all private health plans: surgical sterilization; all FDA-approved birth control (including the IUD, 'morning-after' pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella); and 'education and counseling' promoting these among all 'women of reproductive capacity,'" DiNardo said.

I will have a longer essay on this tomorrow morning. It raises very large issues for Catholic health care.

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