Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new Strategic Plan that makes the claim that life begins at conception.
The language of the strategic plan bears many similarities to similar documents from the Obama administration, but includes several references to defining life as beginning at conception. The idea of life at conception is one that many anti-choice politicians to promote anti-choice legislation.
The Strategic Plan states that the HHS is dedicated to “serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception,” and that “A core component of the HHS mission is our dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death.”
The plan goes on to read that the HHS intends to create partnerships with state and local governments as well as “nongovernmental entities, including faith-based and other community organizations.”
The plan was reportedly drafted by former HHS Secretary Tom Price who resigned from his post amid controversy over his personal use of American tax dollars. According to The Washington Post and POLITICO, Price had chartered dozens of private flights using tax payer funds in only the eight months that he had been Secretary. Price’s replacement as Secretary of the HHS has not been named.
While the subtle change in language in the strategic plan may seem inconsequential, the choice by the HHS to include such phrases demonstrates a commitment to an anti-choice agenda and President Trump’s promises of protecting “religious liberties.”
Shortly after the release of the new HHS plan, the Trump Administration announced two interim rules that would exempt, for religious beliefs and moral convictions, all employers and insurance companies—whether profit making or non-profit making—from the mandate in the Affordable Care Act to cover contraception without co-pays or deductibles.
This ruling will undoubtedly impact the millions of people who rely on no-copay birth control and cannot afford the substantial cost of birth control prescriptions.
Media Resources: POLITICO 10/03/17; The Slot 10/10/17; The Washington Post 9/29/17; Feminist Newswire 10/6/17