St. Louis, Mo., Dec 9, 2022 / 15:00 pm
A federal court this week issued an order restoring fertility awareness-based family planning methods, a form of natural family planning, to health insurance plans nationwide under the Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had in December 2021, without explanation, removed “fertility awareness-based methods” (FABM) from the list of “preventative care and screenings” covered under the Affordable Care Act. The language had been in place since 2016; the removal had been set to go into effect this month.
Attorneys with the faith-based legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in May on behalf of Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a Texas nurse practitioner, and her patients against HHS and its leadership. Tice-Harouff, who holds a Ph.D. in nursing practice and is a member of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), instructs patients in FABM, the lawsuit said, and is reimbursed through insurance about $350-$400 each session. While based in Longview, Texas, she is licensed and practices in several states.
The Dec. 6 order of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, restores language to requirements issued under the Affordable Care Act that “instruction in fertility awareness-based methods … should be provided for women desiring an alternative method” to hormonal birth control. The same court had in August issued an order temporarily blocking the Biden administration’s action.