(ZENIT News / Tyler, 12.12.2022).- A federal court issued an order Tuesday restoring fertility awareness-based methods of family planning to health insurance plans nationwide that cover at least 58 million women. The court’s order restores language to requirements issued under the Affordable Care Act that provide women coverage for these alternative family planning methods after the Biden administration illegally eliminated it one year ago without responding to any public objections or giving any explanation for the change.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys had argued for that result in the lawsuit Tice-Harouff v. Johnson, in which they represent a Texas licensed nurse practitioner. Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff provides patients with instruction in several different evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning.
“The Biden administration can’t illegally impose its own preferred contraceptive methods on all women without even allowing them to express their views. When it comes to family planning, countless women depend on fertility awareness-based methods to help them raise families in a manner consistent with their unique needs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake. “We’re pleased to favorably settle this case on behalf of our client, Dr. Tice-Harouff, who is providing experienced care to women across the country, and on behalf of all the women who use fertility awareness-based methods and can now keep their preferred doctor and insurance coverage.”
In August, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, issued an order temporarily blocking the Biden administration’s procedurally flawed attempt to eliminate language requiring health insurance coverage of fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. Tuesday’s order undoes the administration’s illegal action and finally restores the key language requiring that coverage of “instruction in fertility awareness-based methods … should be provided for women desiring an alternative method.”
The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance plans from imposing any cost-sharing requirements on women seeking “preventative care and screenings,” as defined by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2016, HHS included “instruction in fertility awareness-based methods” as part of this requirement. However, in December 2021, HHS removed that language from its list without using the notice-and-comment process or giving any rationale, both of which are mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act.
Tice-Harouff, who is a licensed nurse practitioner in Tyler with a doctorate in nursing practice, is also licensed in several other states. She donates the proceeds she receives from insurance providers to a non-profit clinic through which she provides health care to patients in need.