After news broke that the Trump administration had greatly expanded a religious-based exemption to Obamacare’s abortifacient and birth control mandate, which requires all health insurance users to pay for the contraception some women choose to use, even when it has abortifacient effects or is sold as an abortifacient, the Left lit up Twitter.
Amid the bemoaning, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom Casey Mattox served up a little reality check.
He’s right, of course. The recently filed lawsuits challenging the expanded religious and moral-based exemptions blow open the multi-step deception Democrats knowingly employed to furtively insert the abortifacient and birth control mandate into the Affordable Care Act.
This Mandate Is Not In the Law—By Design
While the “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” lie President Obama promulgated to push the ACA is well-known, other Democratic scams remained more obscure—until now. In suing the Trump administration, the American Civil Liberties Union and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey exposed Democrats’ well-crafted scheme to surreptitiously implement an abortifacients and birth control mandate.
Here’s how they did it, as shown by the ACLU’s allegations in its federal lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Step One: “The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover certain preventative services without cost-sharing.”
Step Two: “The Women’s Health Amendment (‘WHA’) was adopted during debate over the ACA to ensure that the list of covered services would include preventive services unique to women.”
Step Three: “Congress effectively delegated the responsibility for developing a list of preventive series covered by the ACA to the Department of Health and Human Services (‘HHS’).
Step Four: “HHS, in turn, asked the Institute of Medicine (‘IOM’), an independent, nonprofit organization, to recommend services that should be covered.”
Step Five: “The IOM recommended that the covered preventive services include, among other things, the full range of contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Step Six: “Adopting IOM’s recommendations, HHS required non-grandfathered plans covered by the ACA to provide health care coverage without cost-sharing for ‘[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.’”
Healey likewise mapped out Congress’ backdoor adoption of the abortifacient and birth control mandate in her lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Let’s Just Make Law Using Unelected Bureaucrats
The ACLU and Massachusetts (and likely all later-filing litigants) are now pointing to this sequence of facts to argue that the Trump administration cannot provide a moral or religious exemption from the abortifacient and birth control mandate, claiming such exemptions “are in excess of statutory authority and should be set aside as unlawful.”
Specifically, the plaintiffs assert the exemptions are “contrary to the provisions . . . of the ACA, which prohibits sex discrimination in health insurance, because it sanctions sex discrimination by allowing employers and universities to direct health insurance companies to prevent their employees and students from receiving contraception coverage.”
Again, the Democrats knew exactly what they were doing. They knew that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had ruled that employers discriminate on the basis of sex in violation of the federal Title VII law if they exclude coverage for birth control in employee-benefit plans that cover other preventative services. Democratic leaders also intentionally delegated the authority to define preventative services to HHS so Congress did not need to publicly discuss or vote on this issue. In turn, the HHS farmed out this function to an outside “non-partisan” organization, the Institute of Medicine, allowing the government to wash its hands of the mandate.
But the “non-partisan” label merely comprised further subterfuge for Democrats’ ploy. Americans United for Life (AUL) showcased the Institute of Medicine’s complicity, writing: “Several members of the IOM panel have direct ties to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which stands to gain financially from the IOM recommendation. [And] notably, at the first meeting, groups invited to speak on ‘women’s issues’ included the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood, as a distributor of ‘contraceptives,’ stands to gain tremendously if insurance plans are required to cover contraceptives without co-pay, a financial stake which was never disclosed as a conflict of interest.”
Further, as AUL highlighted, if the IOM had its druthers, it would have considered abortion a “preventive service,” but alas was constrained on that point by the Affordable Care Act.
That just goes to show that “non-partisan” doesn’t mean without ideology. It also goes to show that when former House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” it wasn’t a slip of the tongue—it was a slip of the mask.