Court Blocks Biden Admin from Eliminating Obamacare Coverage for Natural Family Planning Methods

Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a nurse practitioner in Texas, filed a lawsuit in May (see previous coverage on BCN) against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for not covering fertility-awareness treatment, a natural method of family planning, while covering contraceptives and drugs that induce abortions.

Under Obamacare, women seeking preventative care and screenings are not required to pay some of the costs of procedures. HHS made changes in 2016 that required women seeking fertility-awareness treatments to share costs.

Tice-Harouff said the government changed the rule without responding to public objections or explaining the rule. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), her legal counsel, said that “HHS allowed only one, hand-picked outside organization to give input into the guidance.”

Women who want to use drugs to prevent pregnancy or kill unborn babies are covered; women who seek a natural way to prevent pregnancy are not.

ADF announced that a federal court last Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of this rule.

A federal court issued an order late Friday that blocks the Biden administration’s procedurally flawed attempt to eliminate health insurance coverage for fertility awareness-based methods of family planning from requirements that cover at least 58 million women. The court’s ruling means that fertility awareness-based family planning methods will continue to be covered by health insurance plans nationwide including for Texas nurse practitioner Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff’s patients while her lawsuit proceeds.

The court contended that the rule change “was likely made in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, Dr. Tice-Harouff is likely to be irreparably harmed by the change, and the balance of equities supports a preliminary injunction.”

ADF senior counsel Julie Marie Blake said they’re pleased with the court’s ruling to allow insurance coverage to continue.

“Countless women rely on the expertise of medical professionals like Dr. Tice-Harouff to help them raise families in a manner consistent with their needs.”

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