August 25, 2022

Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden's Attempt to Remove Coverage for Natural Family Planning

On August 12, US District Judge Jeremy Kernodle placed a temporary injunction against new rules by the HHS that removed health coverage for fertility awareness-based methods (FABM) of family planning.

FABM methods of family planning involve tracking a woman's reproductive cycle to achieve or avoid pregnancy without the use of contraception. After a 2016 revision to the Affordable Care Act, medical professionals could bill patients' insurance for FABM counseling visits. The change submitted by the Biden administration would remove this coverage, however.

Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a family nurse practitioner who provided counseling for FABM, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom when she noticed her clients no longer had coverage for her services through the Affordable Care Act. As it turns out, HHS did not follow proper procedures when revising regulations.

HHS published draft changes in November 2021 and implemented them in December 2021. Alliance Defending Freedom wrote in a press release that, despite objections by FABM organizations, there was “no notice-and-comment process nor any rationale, which are mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act.”

The removal of coverage is blocked until he makes a full decision or the HHS follows proper procedures for making the change.