Biden admin quietly erases insurance coverage for natural family planning options


Last December, without fanfare, advance notice, or even basic compliance with federal regulations, the Biden administration rolled back insurance coverage for fertility awareness-based method (FABM) instruction. Now, one Texas nurse practitioner is fighting back.

On Wednesday, May 25, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a nurse practitioner certified in multiple states to teach and provide care based on the Creighton Method of Fertility Care as well as the Marquette Method of natural family planning, two evidence-based methods useful for pregnancy achievement or prevention and health monitoring. ADF noted that Tice-Harouff “assists many of her patients by billing their insurance providers, and then donates the proceeds to a non-profit clinic that provides health care to the needy.”

Back in 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added instruction in FABMs under the Contraception section of its Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. Other topics covered under the guidelines include well-woman visits, breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, breastfeeding services and supplies, screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, as well as screenings for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gestational and postpartum diabetes, urinary incontinence, and domestic violence. Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, services considered to be preventive must be covered by insurance providers at no cost to women.

With the removal of FABMs from the Guidelines, women and couples’ only covered options for family planning are contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices.

READ: Comparing the risks and side effects of hormonal birth control vs. natural fertility awareness

According to ADF’s press release, HHS’ decision to remove fertility awareness-based method instruction from its 2021 list of recommended preventive services violates federal law.

Under the Administrative Procedures Act, federal agencies must follow a public “notice and comment process” before changing their rules and guidelines. No such notice and comment process occurred. Instead, HHS consulted with just one outside agency, the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative, a “federally supported collaborative program led by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to review and recommend updates to the current Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines” according to its website. While the WPSI website does not mention abortion, its parent organization ACOG is openly pro-abortion.

ADF’s Senior Counsel, Julie Marie Blake, commented on the HHS decision. “Women shouldn’t have to fear losing their doctor and insurance coverage for fertility awareness instruction as a result of back-room government decisions,” Blake explained. “Countless women rely on Dr. Tice-Harouff’s expertise to help them raise families in a manner consistent with their medical needs. It is wrong and unlawful for the Biden administration to push its own, preferred method of family planning on all women.”

Blake added, ““Women who practice fertility awareness-based methods make serious personal and financial decisions to do what’s best for their family and their conscience. Removing insurance coverage could devastate these families. The government should not be forcing this choice upon America’s women.”

The HHS Women’s Preventive Services guidelines issued last December are slated to take effect in December of this year.

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