Abortion-Inducing Drugs vs. Insulin: The Lack of Justice in the HHS Mandate

The following is a guest post by John Kennedy, CEO of Autocam. Kennedy is the business owner that filed suit last week, through our Legal Defense Fund, against Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services to oppose the HHS Mandate. You can read more about the lawsuit here: CatholicVote.org/Freedom

Are abortion-inducing drugs or insulin more important?

That’s a question I have found myself asking in the last few weeks.  Last week, my family filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Using authority created by President Obama’s health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, Kathleen Sebelius and other HHS officials have created an unjust, arbitrary mandate that violates my faith and common sense.

The HHS mandate requires my family, through the health care plans we provide to our associates, to pay for drugs, procedures, and counseling that violate our beliefs. These beliefs are founded not only in our faith but also in reason and what science tells us about when human life begins.

Even if you don’t share my beliefs, the mandate requires coverage for the wrong drugs and procedures.  It does nothing to decrease cost or improve access to drugs like insulin or heart medication and forces employers to pay the full cost of products like abortion-inducing drugs.  Why is the Obama administration prioritizing controversial life-ending drugs over life-saving drugs?

Unlike a Type 1 diabetic’s decision to continue using insulin, the decision to use contraception, sterilization, or abortion-inducing drugs is a personal choice.  These are purely elective services.  In fact, our plan already covers medically necessary contraception, that is, oral contraceptives prescribed to treat conditions like endometriosis.

Simply put, the mandate in the Affordable Care Act now compels me to offer, free of charge, non–medically necessary drugs and procedures that violate my religious beliefs.  If a diabetic has to pay co-pays and deductibles for insulin, is it truly just to force nearly all employers to provide free abortion-inducing drugs?

[The following is the video (television commercial) that Kennedy and CatholicVote produced to inform and educate voters about the lawsuit, and the HHS Mandate. It is currently running on television in 5 battleground television markets]:

  • AuthenticBioethics

    Your question about insulin and heart medications was one of my first reactions to the HHS mandate. An insurance company can save about 10 times as much preventing one coronary bypass as they can by preventing one pregnancy. For heart transplants, the savings are even greater. Also, if insurers can divert their customers from prescriptions to non-prescription alternatives while achieving acceptable levels of prevention, they will. Condoms, for instance, are not covered products, so you will see insurers pressuring doctors to push condoms over prescription drugs in the wake of this mandate. The point being that insurers do not cover anything for “free,” and if there’s a way they can get out of paying for something, they will.

  • Jeremy

    Bravo, Mr. Kennedy. The time has come to take a stand.

    On Saturday, October 20, Americans will rally against the HHS mandate at more than 140 locations around the country.


    Let’s make our voices heard!

  • Rich

    Also, I do not find any abortion inducing drugs listed on the FDA list. Abortion inducing drugs are not considered Contraception.
    Do you any verifiable information about the Mandates coverage of Abortion inducing drugs?

  • Rich

    Time for some honesty here.
    Why is your family money being used to pay your associates anything. What does you company pay, or are they all independent contractors, and you not a corporation.
    It would seem that the money is the corporation money, which does not belong to you or your family until the corporate expenses are paid, including insurance.
    Do the Associates pay anything for their insurance, and is it considered an employee benefit? Certainly you do not consider insurance to be something you give from your generosity or benevolence. You probably offer insurance as many do, to get the best employees you can, but they work hard for you for their salary and benefits.
    It is troubling to hear that while your plan has previously convered contraception, you know object becasue of the mandate. It really takes the violation issue out of the center. It is a real violations against your very conscience, of a symbolic one for another purpose. I am not quite sure what is being violated, that was not already previously violated.
    Now is there any money coming from the company to cover the not so changed contraception plan, either from your actual pocket, or from the company books? Since the insurance company is covering the cost, and you will really not even know who uses Contraceptive care, why is this your concern?
    You are already paying to an insurance company who has received money for plans and paid out for contraceptive care, and maybe even abortion services. Though it may have not been your plan, the overall cost and profit to the insurance company has all kinds of dollars mixed in together. Is there really something now that is different?
    As for diabetic care, are you going to be paying for these needed services. That would be a great initiative. You could encourage all other Catholic business owners to contract with their inurance company or to pay the actual out of pocket costs for all employees. Several pharmacies have introduced the policy of not charging consumers for some diabetic medication,including insulin.
    It would be wonderful if a good thing came out of this Mandate like Business Owners recognizing he heath needs of their employees and helping to defray the costs. This would certainly be in line with the Catholic Church positions of support to workers.
    I would appreciate your response, as these are quite troubling questions, and you are much closer to what is the real answer.

    • CM
    • CM

      Autocam’s plan does not cover non-medically necessary
      contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization. Self-insured employers
      like Autocam, almost all Catholic hospitals and churches, etc, don’t pay
      premiums and do pay the costs of each prescription and procedure directly. John
      Kennedy answered some of these questions in a recent interview:

      In his interview, Kennedy talks about how the mandate confronts him with two
      totally unsatisfactory solutions: 1) continuing coverage but violating his religious
      beliefs about the sanctity of life; or 2) dropping coverage and violating his
      religious beliefs about social justice. He clearly supports his employees
      by providing them with a high-quality, affordable plan. For example, according to the Kaiser
      Institute, the average American family pays $4,316 in premium-sharing alone –
      ie, just to have a healthcare plan. 91
      percent of Autocam employees pay no premium, and the company pays $1,500 toward
      the deductible of $2,000 for a single plan or $4,000 for a family plan. On top of that, the plan pays for 100 percent
      of preventive care and has an award-winning wellness plan: http://www.kxxv.com/story/19706149/crains-healthiest-employer-honors-go-to-autocam.

  • Pammie

    You don’t have to offer anything. The employee contacts your insurance company if they want the coverage, and the insurance company pays for the coverage. You aren’t even involved. Further, healthcare is a benefit that is paid for by the employee, through their labor and hard work. You can’t tell the employee what they can and can not buy with their wages.

    You are a despicable person. You just want to control the lives of the women that work for you and force them to live by your personal religious beliefs. It’s offensive and disgusting.

    • Joe M


      A) Your analysis is wrong. Getting contraceptives is a consequence of the employer buying an insurance policy for the employee as a benefit. In other words, it’s somebody buying something for someone.

      B) How is a person forced to live by any religious beliefs by not having someone else pay for their condoms? They can buy as many condoms as they want without the HHS mandate.

      • Julie T.

        Thank you, Joe; I didn’t realize this is just “Rich” under another pseudonym. :-)

    • Julie T.

      Pammie, you fail to acknowledge one or two salient points. First, insurance companies are in business to make a profit, without which they cannot pay *their* employees salaries or dividends to their shareholders (and if you have a 401k or pension, you might very well be one the shareholders). It belabors the point, but I will spell it out for you: Insurance companies, at least those I am familiar with, are *not* non-profit entities. Second, in order to operate in good faith on behalf of their employees and shareholders, they *will not* pay for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations *out of their profit*. Instead, they *will add the cost* of these things to the premium charged to every employer who provides insurance. So, who is paying? The employers, of course. The HHS Dictate “accommodation” is a fiction not unlike the children’s fable about the emperor who wore no clothes.

      • pammie

        so you don’t think that insurance companies should be able to offer birth control at all?

        • Julie T.

          I don’t believe the state or federal government should *coerce* employers to pay for those things. Defenders of the HHS DICTATE are playing a zero-sum game when there IS ANOTHER SOLUTION. Rather than compelling *employers* to provide insurance, why not ADDRESS and REFORM certain insurance company abuses that were responsible for bringing this ungodly legislation into being? IN ADDITION, why not allow employers to provide a certain cash benefit to their employees to go out and purchase insurance of their choice. And finally, END the coercion of CATHOLIC INSURANCE COMPANIES—yes, the do exist!—to provide that which we find intrinsically evil. This would be a reasonable compromise for everyone in our pluralistic society, but for reasons beyond the comprehension of reasonable people, the Obama administration *refuses* to step back and look at alternatives like these. Perhaps is world view is zero-sum: if he doesn’t have everything *his* way, he is somehow “losing.”

          • Julie T.

            Oops…intended to write “his world view.”

          • pammie

            So you agree that even if employers don’t offer birth control, their premiums go to funding plans that do offer those medications, which is exactly the same thing.

          • Julie T.

            Pammie-Rich-Guest-Whoever You Really Are, NO! It is not the same thing. A cash benefit forces the *employee* to be responsible for their own moral choices. In my scenario, *Catholic insurance companies* would remain unmolested by the government, and *individuals* of faith, regardless of whether they are employer or employee, remain free of coercion. This is the one and only time I’m responding to you. I am seriously considering contacting the Catholic Vote officials to see if what can be done if you continue to abuse the Catholic Vote *members* with your incessant trolling.

        • abadilla

          Not if a Catholic institution is the one insuring its employees. Now, if their employees choose to live in sin, no one can stop them from living that way and they can certainly buy those contraceptives just about anywhere.

    • Guest

      Pammie- So if an Employer stops paying for the insurance policy for an employee, can that employee still get contraceptives from the insurance company? (credit Joe M)

    • abadilla

      “You are a despicable person. You just want to control the lives of the women that work for you and force them to live by your personal religious beliefs. It’s offensive”
      And I supposed the bishops who support Mr. Kennedy and others like him are also despicable, disgusting and offensive?

    • http://www.facebook.com/sconnerderr Sarah ‘Conner’ Derr

      You completely missed to point. It is not just religious for many of us. I have two diabetic children, and it does nothing for helping them. I think it will harm them in the long run; I already have to fight for some of their supplies to be covered. How do you think companies will off set the extra costs of the extra “preventive care”? By getting rid of even more essential care for people with real diseases. He does have to pay for employees to have access to FREE pregnancy ending drugs, sterilization, etc in the form of premiums. Do you really think insurance companies will eat the cost without raising premiums? Not to mention, for many small companies, it is cheaper to pay the fine for not providing any insurance at at than it is to provide the insurance AND pay the fine for not providing the abortion-inducing care. Those drugs are available and legal, why not let the people who want to use them pay out of pocket like I get to for some of the diabetic care for my children? If a woman wants that kind of coverage, why not use her own money and get a personal policy? It’s very offensive to me that you think that kind of care is more important than my children’s type 1 diabetes care.



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