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National Right to Life Statement on Obama Administration Proposal for Revisions in Preventive Services Mandate: “Changes in packaging in an attempt to conceal continuity in substance”

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In proposed revisions to the preventive services mandate issued today, the Obama Administration once again employs changes in packaging in an attempt to conceal continuity in substance. This latest revision continues to compel countless employers to purchase health plans that will pay for drugs and procedures to which they are opposed on moral and religious grounds. For a nonprofit organization that “holds itself out as a religious organization,” the Administration claims that it is relieving the employer of the moral conflict by obligating the insurer to pay for the objected-to drugs and services. This is a subterfuge, since the employees would not be getting the objected-to services if the religious employer was not paying for the health plan.

Moreover, the Administration once again puts forward the rationale that “issuers generally would find that providing such contraceptive coverage is cost neutral because they would be insuring the same set of individuals under both policies and would experience lower costs from improvements in women’s health and fewer childbirths.” This justification — which essentially argues that contraceptive coverage really costs nothing — could later be employed by the Administration to attempt to mandate coverage of surgical abortions in at least some health plans, on similar grounds that each abortion prevents the higher costs of prenatal care and childbirth.

The proposed revision also continues to apply the mandate to for-profit businesses run by people of faith, without even the cosmetic changes discussed above, and provides no options for individuals seeking plans that accommodate their values on the exchanges.

National Right to Life applauds the ongoing work of Alliance Defending Freedom and others in challenging the Obama Administration’s infringements on the free exercise of religion in the courts. National Right to Life will continue to work with like-minded members of Congress to seek legislative remedies, as well.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), a prominent pro-life organization, recently issued a statement responding to the Obama administration’s proposal for revisions in the preventive services mandate. The NRLC criticized the proposal, characterizing it as “changes in packaging in an attempt to conceal continuity in substance.” This critique highlights ongoing tensions between pro-life advocates and governmental policies related to reproductive health services.

Background of the Preventive Services Mandate

The preventive services mandate is a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aimed at providing comprehensive health coverage. One of its controversial aspects has been the requirement for health insurance plans to cover contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures without cost-sharing. This mandate has faced opposition from various religious and pro-life groups, arguing that it infringes on their moral and religious convictions.

The Obama Administration’s Proposed Revisions

In response to ongoing criticism and numerous lawsuits, the Obama administration proposed revisions to the mandate. These revisions purportedly aim to address concerns by offering alternative compliance mechanisms for religious organizations and other objectors. However, the National Right to Life Committee remains skeptical of these changes.

The National Right to Life’s Critique

The NRLC’s statement suggests that the proposed revisions are merely cosmetic and do not address the fundamental issues raised by pro-life advocates. They argue that the core requirement—coverage of contraceptive methods that they believe can act as abortifacients—remains intact.

Substance Over Form

The NRLC’s primary concern is that the proposed changes do not alter the substance of the mandate. They assert that the revisions are designed to give the appearance of compromise without making significant concessions. This perspective is rooted in the belief that any mandate requiring coverage of contraceptives, particularly those they consider abortifacient, is inherently unacceptable.

Religious Liberty and Moral Objections

A central theme in the NRLC’s statement is the protection of religious liberty. They argue that the mandate forces religious employers to act against their beliefs. The NRLC contends that the government’s attempt to provide accommodations does not sufficiently protect these organizations from participating in practices they find morally objectionable.

Broader Implications for Reproductive Health Policy

The NRLC’s statement on the Obama administration’s proposal is part of a broader debate on reproductive health policy in the United States. This debate encompasses issues of religious freedom, women’s rights, and the role of government in healthcare.

Legal Battles and Court Decisions

The controversy over the preventive services mandate has led to numerous legal challenges. Notably, the Supreme Court has addressed related issues in cases such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Zubik v. Burwell. These cases reflect the ongoing struggle to balance religious liberty with the government’s interest in providing comprehensive healthcare coverage.

Public Opinion and Political Ramifications

Public opinion on the preventive services mandate is deeply divided. Proponents argue that access to contraceptive services is essential for women’s health and equality. Opponents, including the NRLC, view the mandate as an overreach that disregards the moral and religious convictions of many Americans.

Moving Forward: Potential Resolutions

The future of the preventive services mandate remains uncertain. The NRLC’s statement suggests that more substantive changes are needed to satisfy pro-life and religious groups. Potential resolutions could include more robust exemptions for religious organizations or a complete overhaul of the mandate to eliminate coverage for contraceptive methods deemed objectionable by these groups.

Legislative and Administrative Actions

Future administrations and legislatures may revisit the preventive services mandate. Legislative actions could involve amending the ACA to address these concerns, while administrative actions might include further revisions to the mandate or its enforcement mechanisms.

Dialogues and Compromises

A lasting resolution may require dialogue and compromise between the government and pro-life groups. Such discussions could explore ways to balance religious liberty with the goal of providing comprehensive health coverage. Finding common ground will be challenging but necessary to address the concerns of all stakeholders.


The National Right to Life Committee’s statement on the Obama administration’s proposal for revisions in the preventive services mandate underscores the deep divisions in American society over issues of reproductive health and religious liberty. While the proposed changes aim to address some concerns, the NRLC and other pro-life advocates view them as insufficient. As the debate continues, finding a solution that respects both women’s health needs and religious convictions remains a critical challenge for policymakers.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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