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Catholic group opposes coverage for contraceptives

Posted On: Sep. 20, 2010 12:00 AM CST

WASHINGTON—An organization representing U.S. Catholic bishops is asking federal regulators not to classify contraceptives and sterilization as preventive services, thus entitling them to full coverage under the health care reform law, in final rules.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a letter sent Friday to the Department of Health and Human Services, said that preventing pregnancy is not preventing a disease.

Indeed, “contraceptive and sterilization pose their own unique and serious risks to the patient,” according to the letter, which was signed by Anthony Picarello Jr., general counsel of the Washington-based USCCB, and Michael Moses, the group's associate general counsel.

Unlike services such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings that can detect conditions before they develop into serious illnesses or become life-threatening, “this rationale simply does not apply to contraception and sterilization,” the letter said.

Contraceptive drugs and devices not only have a significant “failure” rate, all that they “prevent is a healthy pregnancy in a healthy woman of childbearing age” when successful, the letter said.