On July 19, 2011, a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended that all American women be provided with free contraception. Catholic charities were immediately in an uproar, knowing that this would like result in a provision for free contraception as part of the recently-passed Affordable Care Act.
In addition to Catholic institutions, evangelical organizations were also sounding the alarm bells. “Yet another untruth about Obamacare has been uncovered,” said Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, on July 20. “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has recommended mandatory coverage for ‘emergency contraception,’ which is a euphemism for the morning-after pill, which often kills a newly conceived child by not allowing the embryo to implant on the wall of the mother’s womb.”
Christian author Rachel Marie Stone made a similar point on her blog, where she discussed her time working at a Family Planning Clinic in Malawi. She pointed out that the contraception she distributed was all marked with a USAID seal. “I was following the contraception mandate debate, and I thought, how ironic.” She wrote in an article on the same topic for the magazine Soujourners, saying, “I can’t help feeling that while some of the concerns about the effects of a “birth control culture” may be valid, I also worry that to deny women access to contraception — especially when we’re talking about women in the developing world — is to trivialize what more children means in a place like Malawi, or, say, Somaliland, where women have a one in 14 lifetime risk of dying in childbirth.”