Fox's Legal Analyst Misses On Legal Challenge To ACA Over Contraception


Fox's Andrew Napolitano mischaracterized the the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, pretending the law would force employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion.

On Fox's America's News HQ, network senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano hyped a legal challenge to the ACA by Notre Dame University, which refiled a lawsuit this week contesting the law's birth control mandate. Napolitano claimed the suit is "based upon Obamacare's imposition of an obligation on Notre Dame -- full disclosure, I'm an alumnus of Notre Dame -- which forces it to acquire health insurance which provides coverage for contraception and abortion, both of which violate Catholic core teaching."

Notwithstanding Napolitano's incorrect characterization, the ACA does not require employers to pay for insurance covering abortions.  Instead, it requires states to provide at least one health plan that does not cover abortion in order to accommodate employers whose religious beliefs conflict with providing abortion coverage:

In fact, the policy does not require anyone who does not want abortion coverage to pay for it. Under the law, states have to offer at least one health plan on their insurance exchanges that doesn't cover abortion services at all. If a state decides it does want to have health plans that cover abortion services on its exchange, and if a woman chooses one of those plans, then she has to pay a separate fee of at least $1 to a separate account for that coverage in order to make sure no federal dollars are used to support abortion services.

And Notre Dame's lawsuit has nothing to do with abortion, only contraception such as birth control -- despite exemptions that the Obama administration has included in the legislation that allows religiously-affiliated employers from funding contraception:

[Notre Dame] said it believed the requirement that it provide its employees birth control as part of their insurance coverage impinged on its religious beliefs, and efforts by the Obama administration to find a solution would not resolve the issue.


The administration has sought to find ways to allow religious institutions to avoid the mandate.

In June, the Health and Human Services Department announced it would simplify the process by which the employees of religiously affiliated institutions would be able to opt out of contraceptive coverage.

Under the final rules, self-insured religious groups would notify their plan administrators about their objection to covering birth control, and the administrator would notify policyholders about their separate eligibility for birth control services.

Jenkins said Notre Dame appreciated its talks with the administration, but they were not enough to resolve their concerns.

Right-wing media figures have often erroneously conflated abortion and contraception coverage, especially in attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform, Reproductive Rights
Fox News Channel
Andrew Napolitano
America's News HQ
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