While the Family Research Council was (accurately) labeled "conservative," a litany of leftist groups, including the ACLU and NARAL Pro-Choice America, received no label at all. Most striking, the federally funded abortion providers of Planned Parenthood were benignly termed "advocates for women's health." Abortion was not mentioned, even though Planned Parenthood is the country's leading abortion provider.
The Obama administration is examining whether the new health care law can be used to require insurance plans to offer contraceptives and other family planning services to women free of charge.
Many obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians and public health experts have called for coverage of family planning services, including contraceptives, without co-payments, deductibles or other cost-sharing requirements.
Dr. Hal C. Lawrence III, vice president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said contraceptives fit any reasonable definition of preventive health care because they averted unintended pregnancies and allowed women to control the timing, number and spacing of births. This, in turn, improves maternal and child health by reducing infant mortality, complications of pregnancy and even birth defects, said Dr. Lawrence, who is in charge of the group's practice guidelines.
But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and some conservative groups, including the Family Research Council, say birth control is not a preventive service in the usual sense of the term.
Advocates for women's health, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have urged the administration to require coverage at no cost for family planning, including contraceptive drugs and devices.
Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics said, "Adolescents and adult women need to have access to the full menu of contraceptive methods without cost-sharing," along with counseling and education.
This recommendation is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the March of Dimes, Naral Pro-Choice America, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Women's Law Center and scores of Democrats in Congress.
Claiming Planned Parenthood is an "advocate for women's health" is grimly ironic, considering the story that appears in Thursday's paper . The lead:
Planned Parenthood has fired a clinic manager who was seen on videotape advising a man posing as a sex trafficker, and anti-abortion groups seized on the episode to step up their campaign to cut off public financing for the organization.