I used to think that making a statement on the floor of Congress required showing some respect for the venue in which you are speaking, including refraining from making untrue statements. Yesterday, several members of Congress have proven to me, again, that for some of them this just isn’t the case anymore. When speaking on the House floor today, several members claimed that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage rule would require employers to cover pills that cause abortions. This is simply false. The rule requires coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods. What is an FDA-approved contraceptive method? That’s easy enough to find right here on the FDA website. Pills, patch, IUDs, etc. The members of the House are probably conflating emergency contraception, which is an FDA-approved contraceptive method, with abortion. But as my colleague Jill Morrison pointed out last week, it’s not.
If I were a more generous person, I’d give these members of the House the benefit of the doubt and say they’re misinformed. But I know better – this is a message that the anti-choice activists are pushing. That’s why when our very own Judy Waxman was on Diane Rehm’s show last week, Mark Renzi (who represents the two colleges that have challenged the contraceptive coverage requirement) said the same thing about the rule requiring coverage of abortion. That’s why when a friend asked me to explain the rule to her this weekend, she told me it was to help her craft a fact-based argument to give to her mother who had been bombarded with emails from an anti-choice friend. Arm yourself with the facts so that you too can answer the “contraceptive coverage = abortion coverage” argument.