Rep. Jeff Fortenberry: Birth Control ‘Unrelated’ to Health Care, Contraceptive Coverage Rule a ‘Bailout for Planned Parenthood’

Yesterday on The Janet Mefferd Show, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) railed against the Obama administration’s decision to require employers to include coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans with narrow religious exemptions, calling it a “bailout for Planned Parenthood,” and to promote his bill that would undermine the new rule. The congressman said that the decision was “politically and ideologically driven” and dismissed birth control as “unrelated to the basic needs of health care.”

Fortenberry argued that the move is “a direct subsidy to the abortion industry.” However, research suggests that increased access to and use of contraception reduces the rate of abortion as it decreases the chance of having an unintended pregnancy. A Thomson Reuters/NPR poll last year that found that approximately three-quarters of Americans support having private and government insurance cover birth control.

Fotenberry: Fundamentaly, I bellieve this is a bailout for Planned Parenthood because what it does is provide a number of electives that are now free and it is ideologically and politically driven because it is unrelated to the basic needs of health care, most of which is driven by the onset of chronic illness — that’s about 74-75% of where the costs come from. So if we were serious about trying to get underneath the underlying factors that are driving up health care costs and really worry about prevention, we’d focus on health and wellness and chronic disease prevention. That just leads me to conclude that this was politically and ideologically driven.

It’s a bailout for Planned Parenthood, it’s a direct subsidy to the abortion industry, who is entangled with these services, that’s their political agenda, that’s their ideology, and they are making you and me pay for it. It’s simply wrong.