By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
An international pro-life group has discovered that 11 of the 15 members of the Committee on Preventive Services for Woman of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the group that advised the Department of Health and Human Services HHS to force all private health insurers to pay for FDA-approved contraception, are either tied to major pro-abortion groups or to politicians who support that ideology.
LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that the discovery was made by HLI America while reviewing the IOM’s public records. They found that of the IOM’s 15 member board, 11 are either affiliated with NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and other abortion supporting groups, or made major contributions to the campaigns of pro-abortion politicians such as Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Barbara Boxer. The same records showed that none of the board members ever made a contribution to a pro-life lawmaker.
Among those linked to the pro-abortion lobby are Claire Brindis, a member of the board of directors of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation; Angela Diaz, former board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Paula A. Johnson, Chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and upcoming recipient of NARAL’s 2011 Champion for Choice award; Magda G. Peck, the former board chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs; and Alina Salganicoff, Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which strongly favors abortion and contraception on demand.
HLI America also highlights committee members monetary contributions to pro-abortion candidates, including a $35,200 donation to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). One committee member, Linda Rosenstock, donated over $40,000 to pro-choice political candidates including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and the Democratic National Committee.
“This is by no means an exhaustive list of the involvement of the IOM committee members in pro-choice advocacy groups and pro-choice political campaigns,” the HLI says in their report. “But these eleven members—out of a total of fifteen—demonstrate a more than casual commitment to the furthering of the abortion lobby.”
The only member of the IOM committee who dissented from the decision to recommend coverage for birth control was Dr. Anthony Lo Sasso who confirmed that the findings were tainted by advocacy goals. In his official dissent, Lo Sasso wrote:
“Troublingly, the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”
Arland Nichols, the National Director of HLI America, noted that this bias was everywhere in the process leading up to the approval of the IOM’s recommendations. For instance, the committee held three “open information-gathering sessions” to receive expert testimony regarding the preventive services that should be mandated and funded. However, nearly all of the invited speakers were known advocates of contraception and abortion on demand. As one observer, Michael O’Dea notes:
“At both meetings, the invited speakers represented organizations which advocate coverage of contraception, without cost sharing of expenses. Those organizations include the Guttmacher Institute, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Planned Parenthood, The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Society for Family Planning.”
Furthermore, there was not one representative from the Catholic health care system, despite the fact that it constitutes the single largest provider of health care in our country, Nichols adds. He also learned that representatives of the pro-life and pro-family organizations were forced to seek permission to speak and were relegated to the brief public comments portion at the end of the day.
Not surprisingly, the IOM’s recommendations were accepted by pro-abortion HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius less than two weeks after the report was released.
“The officials of the Department of Health and Human Services are appointed to carry out the research that the general citizenry has neither the time nor skill to pursue; they are not appointed to misguide and misinform,” Nichols writes.
“We must be able to trust profoundly in the integrity of those to whom we delegate these important tasks. By misrepresenting the relevant data, the IOM committee and HHS Secretary Sebelius have betrayed the trust of the American people, and have potentially put the health of millions of women at risk.”
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