Panel recommends no co-pay for contraception, impassions Catholics

Passions are inflamed over independent panel's recommendations that the Affordable Health Care Act mandates no co-pay for contraception Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 — Yesterday, an independent panel of doctors and health experts recommended that coverage in health plans  include a wide-range of birth control options including Plan B, the controversial pregnancy prevention option.  It was among a list of 8 recommendations made. Specifically, it asked for “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling” to be approved.

The recommendations have gotten many religious groups upset because they say their faith prevents them from supporting certain methods and that by the government mandating coverage for all women of these contraception, it is infringing on their religious values.

“I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation today,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a written statement. “Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.”

Some groups like Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Rights Action League have cheered and welcomed the recommendations.

Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a written statement:

“Covering birth control without co-pays is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent unintended pregnancy and keep women and children healthy.”

Many in the Catholic community say, if adopted, these types of recommendations would be one step closer to mandating coverage for abortion.

It is one thing to not believe in certain contraception and abortion and not want others to get one, but indeed it is quite another thing to force people to accept their government mandating coverage for these services.

This is one of those issues that impassion so many that the government perhaps should have been entirely agnostic on it and not had it included in the law at all, or leave to the states to work out.

These recommendations will certainly not be helpful for the Obama administration going into the next re-election cycle as they will only fan and enflame the sensibilities of people against certain certain forms of contraception.

Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaksBlackWeb 2.0 and Politic365.  She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.


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Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt is a former journalist turned lawyer turned citizen journalist. Currently, she manages her boutique communications law firm, where she has represented small businesses and nationally-recognized civil and consumer rights organizations before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts and the FCC. She also covers the White House and US Congress for the online news site Politic365.com while authoring her own influential blog JenebaSpeaks.com which is frequently accessed by top policy makers and think tanks, and the investment community. JenebaSpeaks.com focuses on the intersection of politics and technology and reports on policies and rules in the communications and tech sector.
 
Before opening her law firm, The Ghatt Law Group, which was the first communications firm owned by women and minorities, Jeneba regulated Comcast and Starpower as the Assistant General Counsel for the District of Columbia's Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, and at one point was the only communications regulatory attorney in the entire city. She is founding member and policy chair for a new trade association, the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs and provides advice and counsel to new businesses in the tech industry, particularly small businesses owned by women and minorities.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, but raised in the United States by her Catholic mom and Muslim dad, she started her college career creating web content for one of the earliest websites in history while working part time for the University of Maryland's Office of Technology. Following her graduation from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, she founded and co-wrote one of the earliest blogs and since then has gone on to found and author six different widely read and influential blogs. She was one of only 22 writers and bloggers to attend the first White House summit for African American media.
 
She holds a Certificate in Communications Law Studies from Catholic; a Juris Doctor from there as well, and a Master of Law in advocacy degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she first taught and lectured as a Staff Attorney and Graduate fellow at that law school's Institute for Public Representation. She later went on to teach Media Law at the University of Maryland at College Park and guest lecture at Yale Law School and Penn State University, College of Telecommunications. She is well skilled and versed with social media and manages several Twitter, Facebook, Linked In accounts and groups.
 
She sits on the board of several non profits and trade associations.

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