During his talk last week at the Faith and Freedom’s Coalition Road to the Majority Conference in Washington, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) swelled his rhetoric with false claims of the Affordable Care Act forcing religious institutions to provide abortions.
According to Salon, Ryan claimed that, “… If you believe in the social teaching of your church, if you disagree with abortifacients — with abortion-inducing drugs — it doesn’t matter. You, if you’re a church or a charity or a hospital, you have to buy health insurance that offers your employees these things that are in contradiction to your beliefs. This is what the federal government is demanding.”
The previous statement is incorrect on several grounds. One, abortifacients, which terminate pregnancy, are entirely different from birth control medication, which prevents pregnancy. More importantly, abortifacients are not included in the Affordable Care Act and never were.
This is not the first time that social conservatives have lashed out with erroneous accusations against the birth control mandate that was released over a year ago. After the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on January 20, 2012, that private insurers would be required to supply birth control at no extra cost for women, many lies were slung about the rule.
Stand Up For Religious Freedom sprung up quickly following the HHS mandate announcement. On their website they decry that these so-called “preventative services” are covered no matter what the “insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor or even the woman herself objects to such coverage.” Notably the woman herself is mentioned last!
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) even suggested that the HHS mandate would allow public schools to perform abortions. Need I say more?
In February of 2012, Obama responded to the uproar against the mandate by announcing an accommodation for religious institutions. Instead of the institutions providing the coverage, third party health insurers could cover it instead.
Another part of the mandate that social conservatives like Ryan tend to leave out is that no one, in any way, is forced to use or purchase contraception.
More interestingly, 98% of Catholic women have used contraception according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute.
Despite the facts on the Affordable Care Act that entirely disprove the conservative falsehoods, they will never be enough to convince the Ryans and Bachmanns of the country take a breath and fully understand the legislation.