Court: Biden Administration Must Restore Obamacare Funding for Natural Family Planning Methods

The so-called Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, bars insurers from imposing cost-sharing requirements on preventative care and screenings (annual physicals, mammograms, etc.). In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Donald Trump included “instruction in fertility awareness-based methods” as part of this requirement.

When President Joe Biden was voted into office, however, HHS issued a rule that removed the language regarding fertility awareness-based treatment. HHS still provides coverage for drugs that could induce abortions.

Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a nurse practitioner who provides patients instructions on this method, filed a lawsuit against HHS for changing the rule without notice under the Administrative Procedure Act and also said the change was arbitrary and capricious. The agency changed the rule without responding to public objections or explaining the rule change.

Alliance Defending (ADF), Tice-Harouff’s legal counsel, said that “HHS allowed only one, hand-picked outside organization to give input into the guidance.”

A federal court in August temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the new rule.

ADF announced this week that a federal court has ordered HHS to restore the language providing coverage for fertility awareness-based treatments.

The court ordered that the following sentence is to remain at the end of the “Contraception” section of the guidelines:

“Additionally, instruction in fertility awareness-based methods, including the lactation amenorrhea method, although less effective, should be provided for women desiring an alternative method.”

ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake said HHS “can’t illegally impose its own preferred contraceptive methods on all women without even allowing them to express their views. When it comes to family planning, countless women depend on fertility awareness-based methods to help them raise families in a manner consistent with their unique needs. We’re pleased to favorably settle this case on behalf of our client, Dr. Tice-Harouff, who is providing experienced care to women across the country, and on behalf of all the women who use fertility awareness-based methods and can now keep their preferred doctor and insurance coverage.”

Photo credit: American Life League (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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