Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine released its suggestions for what procedures should be mandated for inclusion in private insurance plans under the health care reform law. Some of the proposals seem non-controversial enough: They recommend, for example, that a more sophisticated, and expensive, test for the virus HPV, which is linked to cervical cancer, be part of the mandated services. That is all to the good. But, the recommendations also tread on some highly contentious areas regarding contraception and, worse, abortifacients. Those suggestions go to the Department of Health and Human Services which will formulate the final rules governing mandated coverage. To be clear, the recommendations released yesterday are just that, recommendations.
I am no scientist nor a moral theologian, so I will focus on what is, to me, one of the most pressing aspects of these regulations, the need to protect conscience.