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June 3, 2022

Catholic Medical Association Member Sues U.S. Department of Health and Human Services After Fertility-Awareness Based Methods Removed from Health Coverage

CMA Issued Public Comments Recommending FABM Remain Covered in November of 2021 

Philadelphia, PA – June 3, 2022 – Catholic Medical Association, which has issued public comments recommending coverage of Fertility-Awareness Based Methods (FABM), applauds action taken by CMA member, Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, who is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after it removed FABM from federal health coverage.

“Women across the country, who for a variety of reasons choose these healthy methods, are being denied that choice by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with protecting women’s health. We must ensure women have access so they can successfully plan for themselves and their families,” said Craig Treptow, M.D., President of CMA.

“It is ironic that the current federal administration, which heralds the values of reproductive choice as well as care of the environment, is denying women this choice of family planning. Of all methods of family planning that are available to women, Fertility-Awareness Based Methods are the only ones having no chemical or material-based toxic effects to women and the environment,” said Dr. Marie Hilliard, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee.

In November of 2021, CMA issued public comments about FABM, recommending that instruction in fertility awareness-based methods continue to be provided for women desiring an alternative method in tracking fertility.

In her lawsuit, Dr. Tice-Harouff, represented by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, “challenges the government’s action on two grounds under the Administrative Procedure Act. First, the government unlawfully failed to follow notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures. Second, the government’s action was arbitrary and capricious, and not the product of reasoned decision-making.”

Dr. Tice-Harouff, who is also a member of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, USA, alleges in her lawsuit “HHS is imposing its own preferred method of family planning on all women” by removing coverage of FABM.

In our public comments, CMA stated the below advantages to FABM which support our recommendation:

  • Women choose FABM for a variety of reasons, including the desire to avoid the use of hormones and devices, to avoid the ill side effects of other forms of birth control, and to understand one’s natural body processes consistent with religious preferences
  • FABM can be used to effectively avoid or achieve pregnancy
  • FABM effectiveness rates depend on the method but Typical Use failure can be as low as 2% and the use of FABM is on the rise with a recent study finding 3.8% of respondents were FABM users

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