Girls as young as 15 could be sterilized at no cost and without their parents' consent under ObamaCare and Oregon state law, sparking concerns about mass sterilization and population control.
Americans outraged over the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance policies cover contraception and sterilization at no charge are about to get even hotter under the collar. According to CNSNews.com, depending on state law, girls as young as 15 could well be eligible for free surgical sterilizations — even without their parents’ consent.
The ObamaCare regulation, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year, states: “Non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost sharing consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year ... that begins on or after August 1, 2012.” The guidelines call for insurers to cover “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
While the guidelines do not define “all women with reproductive capacity,” they are based on the recommendations of an Institute of Medicine report that defines it as “from the time of menarche” — the onset of menstruation, which occurs around age 12 — “to the time of menopause.” Thus it would appear that HHS is requiring all new insurance plans to cover legal sterilizations for girls age 12 and older.
Of course, in most states women must be considerably older than 12 to be sterilized, and teenagers desiring to be sterilized must obtain their parents’ consent. In Oregon, however, girls 15 and older need not obtain parental consent to be sterilized. All they must do is sign a form stating that they are making an informed decision to be sterilized — a procedure that “must be considered permanent and not reversible” — voluntarily and with the understanding that “my decision will not affect my right to future care or treatment.” For girls unable to understand English, the state helpfully permits an interpreter to sign the form for them.
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