Blog Post

Legal Brief Challenges Scientific Validity of HHS Mandate

A second brief in support of a case challenging the contentious HHS mandate was filed on Friday and contends that the Institute of Medicine based its conclusions that mandating insurance coverage for birth control, sterilization and abortifacient drugs on incomplete and biased scientific information.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation, in conjunction with the Bioethics Defense Fund, filed its second friend of the court brief on Friday, October 12, 2012, in support of a case challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptives and sterilization “services” to their employees, despite conscientious objections to doing so.

The brief was filed on behalf of the organization “Women Speak for Themselves,” in the case of Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, et al., which is on appeal from the United States District Court, District of Columbia. The District Court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments that the Mandate violated their First Amendment Freedom of Religion by requiring them to violate their sincerely held beliefs in the sanctity of human life. This appeal followed.

The HHS mandate purports to promote health but in promulgating the rule, the government ignored substantial evidence that hormonal contraceptives pose serious health risks to women.

“Before forcing employers to violate their religious convictions and pay for drugs which end human lives, the Government has to show the Mandate furthers a compelling public interest. Our brief demonstrates how far the Government is from having met its burden of proof,” states Catherine Short, LLDF’s Legal Director.

The brief points to substantial evidence that hormonal contraceptives, rather than promoting the health and well-being of women and children, pose serious health risks. Some of the health hazards listed for this type of drug include higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular complications, greater susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections, higher risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver tumors.

The brief emphasizes that in promulgating the HHS mandate, the government "disregarded - indeed never considered - the robust body of medical evidence" indicating the significant dangers of hormonal contraceptives. Instead, they relied exclusively on evidence provided by pro-abortion groups only and disregarded all other information.

"Citing the 2011 Institute of Medicine report, the Government asserts that by increasing access to contraceptives, the Mandate will promote public health by decreasing unintended pregnancies, promoting the spacing of births, and preventing pregnancy in women with conditions for which pregnancy is contraindicated," the brief states.

"However, the government has failed to show that the Mandate would prevent these negative health consequences. Nearly all of the research is based on correlation, not evidence of causation, and most of the studies suffer from significant, admitted flaws in methodology.”

Because the government relied exclusively on this evidence and ignored all other scientific conclusions, it "simply cannot demonstrate that application of the HHS Mandate to objecting employers 'is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.' While the Government’s interest in 'preventive services' for 'women’s health and well-being' may be valid, its act of coercing objecting employers to cover drugs that significantly increase risks to women’s health certainly fails to further that interest."

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® You can alert the women in your community to the facts about the dangers of hormonal contraception. Click here for a free downloadable pamphlet detailing the facts the government is refusing to consider.