Monday, August 20, 2012

Under ObamaCare, 15-Year-Olds May Get Free Sterilizations Without Parental Consent

The New American
August 20, 2012


Under ObamaCare, 15-Year-Olds May Get Free Sterilizations Without Parental Consent
Americans outraged over the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance policies cover contraception and sterilization at no charge are about to get even hotter under the collar. According to CNSNews.com, depending on state law, girls as young as 15 could well be eligible for free surgical sterilizations — even without their parents’ consent.

The ObamaCare regulation, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year, states: “Non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost sharing consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year ... that begins on or after August 1, 2012.” The guidelines call for insurers to cover “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

While the guidelines do not define “all women with reproductive capacity,” they are based on the recommendations of an Institute of Medicine report that defines it as “from the time of menarche” — the onset of menstruation, which occurs around age 12 — “to the time of menopause.” Thus it would appear that HHS is requiring all new insurance plans to cover legal sterilizations for girls age 12 and older.

Of course, in most states women must be considerably older than 12 to be sterilized, and teenagers desiring to be sterilized must obtain their parents’ consent. In Oregon, however, girls 15 and older need not obtain parental consent to be sterilized. All they must do is sign a form stating that they are making an informed decision to be sterilized — a procedure that “must be considered permanent and not reversible” — voluntarily and with the understanding that “my decision will not affect my right to future care or treatment.” For girls unable to understand English, the state helpfully permits an interpreter to sign the form for them.

Therefore, under ObamaCare a 15-year-old Oregonian girl apparently can get a tubal ligation for free without so much as a by-your-leave from her parents. (This same girl, meanwhile, must wait until she is 16 to drive and 17 to wed and can do neither without parental consent until she is 18.) Parents and other policyholders not wishing to pay for sterilization coverage will be forced to do so since it will now be baked into every policy sold. And taxpayers, whether or not they agree with the practice of sterilizing minors without parental consent, will be forced to subsidize such coverage for those unable to buy insurance on their own — a segment of the population sure to grow as mandates such as this drive up premiums.

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