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May 15, 2013

Contraception Is a Fundamental Primary Care Service

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Drs Gossett, Kiley, and Hammond) and Section of Family Planning (Drs Kiley and Hammond), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

JAMA. 2013;309(19):1997-1998. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4262

Should religious-based organizations be required to provide contraceptive coverage?Yes.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health care plans after August 1, 2012, to cover preventive health services recommended by the Institute of Medicine and endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Covered services promote development of a health care system that sustains health rather than merely treats illness. Many services, such as cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, and contraceptive services, promote the health and well-being of women.1 Some religious organizations and private employers, however, have demanded exemption from providing contraception, arguing that it violates their religious beliefs. We believe that allowing such an exception is at odds with evidence-based preventive care, inconsistent with actual patterns of contraceptive use among women who are religious, and a sectarian incursion into private health care decisions that is without parallel in the US health care system.