John McCain: A Record of Opposing Choice

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Senator John McCain–who almost certainly will become the Republican nominee for president–has an undeserved reputation of being a “moderate” or a “maverick” that has positions contrary to traditional Republican policies. Despite this reputation and the inaccuracies of it, the media continues to report on him as a “maverick.” However, on the issue of abortion and the right to chose, McCain is clearly anything but a moderate. NARAL Pro-Choice America has released a detailed overview of

Michigan Senate Passes Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Backed by West Michigan Senators

On the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Michigan Senate voted to ban so-called “partial-birth” abortion procedures. The measure was co-sponsored by a number of West Michigan Senators.

Yesterday, on the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Michigan Senate passed a ban on so-called “Partial-Birth” abortion procedures. The bill–which passed by a vote of 24-13–was co-sponsored by West Michigan Senators Bill Hardiman, Mark Jansen, Wayne Kuipers, and Gerald Van Woerkom.

While “partial-birth abortion” is a common term, it is a rhetorical device popularized by the anti-abortion movement to describe a method of abortion known as “Intact Dilation and Extraction.” It is not a term that is recognized the American Medical Association. Just as the bill attempts to legitimize the term “Partial-Birth” abortion, the text of the ban makes several dubious claims including:

“…partial-birth abortions pose serious risks to the health of a woman, no credible medical evidence exists that partial-birth abortions are safe, and partial-birth abortions are never medically necessary to preserve the health of the mother.”

“…a governmental interest in protecting the life of a child during the delivery process arises because a partial-birth abortion involves the inducement of labor and the beginning of the birth process.”

“Partial-birth abortions involve the killing of a child that is in the process of being born, in fact mere inches away from becoming a person. Thus, the government has a heightened interest in protecting the life of a partially born child.”

Despite what the bill says, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement last year asserting that there is a “…medical consensus” that intact D&E is safest and offers significant benefits for women suffering from certain conditions that make the potential complications of non-intact D&E especially dangerous.” A 2004 study found that the procedure is no more dangerous than other forms of abortion. In addition to questionable assertions about health and the procedure as a whole, the bill also makes rhetorical assumptions that a fetus is “a child.”

The bill then goes on to make it a felony to “kill[s] a human fetus.” This felony would be punishable by imprisonment of no more than two years and a fine of no more than $50,000. Interestingly, while the bill says that “partial-birth abortions are never medically necessary to preserve the health of the mother” it contains an exception under which a partial-birth abortion is not punishable as a felony if it “…is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.”

For several years, the anti-abortion movement has used the debate over “partial-birth” abortion to win political victories and shift public opinion in support of some bans on abortion. This is the fourth time that the Michigan legislature has sought to ban these abortion procedures. While three previous attempts were struck down by federal courts, this measure was based on a federal ban upheld last year by the Supreme Court. According to supporters of the ban, it is necessary to have a state-level ban in the event that the federal ban is overturned.

Presidential Candidates on the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade

It was 35-years ago today that the Roe vs. Wade decision became the law of the land. In those 35 years, there have been numerous attempts to overturn the US Supreme Court’s decision to give women the right to have an abortion if they chose. Both pro-choice and pro-life groups will be endorsing candidates and trying to use the election as an opportunity to promote their positions. Here is where the candidates stand on this issue:

Hillary Clinton

Supports Roe v. Wade; opposes ban on partial-birth abortions. In 2005, Clinton voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives, in 2006 she voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions and in 2007 ABSTAINED from voting on a bill prohibiting funds for groups that perform abortions. On Clinton’s website it says:

“When I’m President, I will appoint judges to our courts who understand that Roe v. Wade isn’t just binding legal precedent, it is the touchstone of our reproductive freedom, the embodiment of our most fundamental rights, and no one – no judge, no governor, no Senator, no President – has the right to take it away.”

John Edwards

Supports Roe v. Wade; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions; opposed John Roberts’s nomination, partly based on his abortion views. Edwards voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime in 2004 and NO on banning partial birth abortions. On Edwards’ blog, it says, “As President, I will guarantee the right to choose and ensure that women can make choices in their lives with dignity and can participate in our society fully, as equals.”

Mike Gravel

Supports Roe v. Wade; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions. We could find no voting record on abortion for Gravel. On Gravel’s website it says, “Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions.”

Dennis Kucinich

Supports Roe v. Wade, but had previously been opposed; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions; appointed judges would “reflect my thinking.” Kucinich voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life in 2003, voted NO on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act in 2005 and voted NO on the Abortion Pain Bill in 2006. On Kucinich’s website it says, “I have a plan to reduce abortions by encouraging family planning, including abstinence training, combined with a full economic and health care plan that would clearly alleviate the number of abortions.”

Barack Obama

Supports Roe v. Wade; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions. In 2005, Obama voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives, he voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions in 2006 and he ABSTAINED from voting on prohibiting funds for groups that perform abortions. On Obama’s website it says, “Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.”

Rudy Giuliani

Supports abortion rights; supported ban on partial-birth abortions, but receptive to them in the past; hands-off approach on public funding; “strict constructionist judges” but no “litmus test.” In 2007 he said it’s “Ok to repeal Roe v. Wade” and he would “Allow states to fund or not fund abortion.” On Giuliani’s website it says:

“Rudy will direct the Office of Faith-based Initiatives to find new ways to support organizations that promote adoption as an alternative to abortion. Rudy will veto any attempt to weaken the Hyde Amendment and other limits on the public funding of abortions, like the Mexico City Policy.”

Mike Huckabee

Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade; supported Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions; opposes federal funding. As Governor of Arkansas he said No tax funding for organizations that promote abortion and led Arkansas to pass a human life amendment in the state constitution. On Huckabee’s website it says:

“I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. As president, I will fight for passage of this amendment. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.”

John McCain

Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, but has been supportive in the past; supported Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions; “strict constructionist judges.” In 2003 McCain voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life, voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives, voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions and voted YES on prohibiting funds for groups that perform abortions in 2007. On McCain’s website it says:

“Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.”

Ron Paul

Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade; opposes partial-birth abortions. In 2003 Paul voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life, NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions and ABSTAINED from voting in 2007 on the Abortion Pain Bill. On Paul’s website it says:

“Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age. The lack of respect for life that permits abortion significantly contributes to our violent culture and our careless attitude toward liberty.”

Mitt Romney

Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, but was supportive in the past; supported Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions. On Romney’s website it says:

“As President, Governor Romney will promote a culture of life. Governor Romney believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that the issue of abortion can be returned to the American people and their elected representatives at the state and federal level.”

Sources used for this posting were Project Vote Smart and On the Issues.

Pregnancy Resource Centers and the Anti-Abortion Movement

The anti-abortion movement–beyond protests and pickets–actively works on a day-to-day basis to limit the number of abortions as well as access to information about abortion. One way that this is done is through “pregnancy resource centers” or “crisis pregnancy centers” that masquarade as clinics.

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. In commemoration of the Supreme Court decision that granted women the right to choose legal and safe abortions, Media Mouse is participating in the 2008 “Blog for Choice” event aimed at raising the profile of abortion and reproductive rights as issues in the “blogosphere” and the media.

The official topic for the event is “why you are pro-choice,” but rather than focus exclusively on that topic, it seemed appropriate to look at how Roe vs. Wade is continually under attack (as it the larger right to choose abortion) and why it must be aggressively defended. In West Michigan, which has a long history of pro-life activism emanating from the religious right, there are numerous entities actively working to deny women access to abortion. Whether it is through wealthy families supporting pro-life organizations via their foundations or the day-to-day workings of anti-abortion groups, the West Michigan area has a host of activity on the issue.

Many people are familiar with the stereotypical images of anti-abortion activism–people praying outside of clinics that perform abortions, attempting to give dolls to women entering clinics, or perhaps even trying to block access to clinics. Similarly, the corporate media has occasionally portrayed anti-abortion activists as violence-prone extremists–which while true in some cases–has a tendency to overshadow the less dramatic ways in which the anti-abortion movement acts on a day-to-day basis.

One of the ways in which the anti-abortion movement has sought to both reduce the number of abortions and limit women’s access to abortion–and even access to accurate information about abortion–is through “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy resource centers.” These centers, often masquerading as neutral places for women to get information about abortion, actively aim to counsel women against abortion and in some cases even provide inaccurate information about pregnancy and abortion. They are rarely clinics and are frequently unable to provide medial advice.

The tactics used by these centers have been documented extensively and range from providing inaccurate information to being deliberately misleading. Several pro-choice organizations from NARAL to the National Abortion Federation have document how pregnancy resource centers and crisis pregnancy centers frequently mislead women in order to lower the number of abortions. A study by Representative Henry Waxman on pregnancy resource centers–which have received $30 million federal funding–found that many centers:

“The centers provided false and misleading information about a link between abortion and breast cancer. There is a medical consensus that induced abortion does not cause an increased risk of breast cancer. Despite this consensus, eight centers told the caller that having an abortion would in fact increase her risk. One center said that “all abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer in later years,” while another told the caller that an abortion would “affect the milk developing in her breasts” and that the risk of breast cancer increased by as much as 80% following an abortion.

The centers provided false and misleading information about the effect of abortion on future fertility. Abortions in the first trimester, using the most common abortion procedure, do not pose an increased risk of infertility. However, seven centers told the caller that having an abortion could hurt her chances of having children in the future. One center said that damage from abortion could lead to “many miscarriages” or to “permanent damage” so “you wouldn’t be able to carry,” telling the caller that this is “common” and happens “a lot.”

The centers provided false and misleading information about the mental health effects of abortion. Research shows that significant psychological stress after an abortion is no more common than after birth. However, thirteen centers told the caller that the psychological effects of abortion are severe, long-lasting, and common. One center said that the suicide rate in the year after an abortion “goes up by seven times.” Another center said that post-abortion stress suffered by women having abortions is “much like” that seen in soldiers returning from Vietnam and “is something that anyone who’s had an abortion is sure to suffer from.”

Beyond the studies, women who have visited these clinics to see what goes on inside them, report that the clinics attempt to cast visitors as “mothers” and exaggerations about the health effects of abortion.

Moreover, it is not a coincidence that many centers are located next to Planned Parenthood offices or clinics that perform abortions. In the 1980s, a guide published by the anti-abortion Pearson Foundation titled “How to Start and Operate Your Own ProLife Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center” was published that:

“…outlines, in detail, how CPCs should use misleading names that make them sound like abortion clinics, ways to present the appearance of providing abortions, and how to do what they can to hide their pro-life/antichoice positions. For example, the manual suggests answering the question, when a woman calls in, “Are you a pro-life center?” with “We are a pregnancy testing center. What is pro-life?” It is, quite literally, a manual on how to purposefully mislead women and how to be a fraud. (source)”

While these centers have received attention at the national level by the pro-choice movement, local centers have received little attention. The Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC)–with a non-descript logo and no reference to its religious and anti-abortion origins–is located immediately next door to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Cherry Street (a second Pregnancy Resource Center is located in Wyoming).

The Pregnancy Resource Center maintains two websites, one at PRCGR.ORG and the other at PRCFORLIFE.ORG. The first contains no reference to the organization’s religious orientation and says nothing about its anti-abortion agenda. However, on the PRCFORLIFE.ORG website, the PRC makes its beliefs clear. Its “core principles” summarize the religious and anti-abortion orientation of the organization:

“Vision

The Pregnancy Resource Center exists to elevate the sanctity of human life to the point that abortion is neither needed nor wanted in the greater Grand Rapids community.

Mission

As a Christ-centered ministry, our staff and volunteers work to glorify God and demonstrate His character to the greater Grand Rapids community. We cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s leading as we:

* Challenge people to embrace a Biblical view of sexuality.

* Defend pre-born children

* Meet the needs of those unprepared for pregnancy and

* Help heal lives traumatized by abortion”

Additionally, the organization lists its four “Driving Convictions”–“Drawing Closer to God,” “Sanctity of Human Life,” and “Biblical Sexuality,” and “Offering am Invitation.” Under these four areas, the Pregnancy Resource Center refers to scripture to support its call for prayer, opposition to abortion in all cases including rape and incest, belief that sexual relationships outside of marriage lead to “crisis pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and broken lives,” and belief that abortion offers a critical area for missionary work.

In evaluating its effectiveness since its origins in 1983 picketing outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic, the Pregnancy Resource Centers says that “More than 2,000 lives have been physically saved, area teens have been hearing God’s truth regarding sex and marriage and, most importantly, thousands have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.”

According to its PRCFORLIFE.ORG website–which is up-front about its religious orientation–the Pregnancy Resource Center says that its services–offered for free “…to share the lifechanging [sic] mission of Jesus Christ”–include abstinence-only education classes for area teens; information on pregnancy, abortion procedures, adoption, and sexually transmitted diseases; free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds; referrals to other organizations and agencies for medical care, social services, and adoption; and “abortion recovery assistance.” With regard to the last item, it is worth noting that according to the list of donations sought by the Pregnancy Resource Center, it uses study guides that promote the idea of “Post-Abortion Syndrome“–something that no medical association recognizes. “Post-Abortion Syndrome” is used by many pro-life organizations to promote the idea that abortion causes a host of physical, psychological, and emotional effects.

Much of the information about pregnancy and abortion featured on the Pregnancy Resource Center’s website–from fact sheets to videos–comes from an organization called “Frontlines Publishing” based in Grand Rapids that publishes a wealth of material used by the anti-abortion movement. This material includes information on “Abortion Risks.” The “risks” are divided into three areas–“Physical,” “Emotional,” and “Spiritual”–and are explained using resources from Frontlines Publishing. The “risks” listed include an increased risk of breast cancer, although there is no scientific basis for the claim. Similarly, concerns about potential health complications are overstated. The site also describes the frequency of the so-called “Post-Abortion Syndrome,” although no medical associations recognize the syndrome and numerous studies have challenged its existence.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Pregnancy Resource Center’s website says nothing about contraception and does not mention abortion as a viable option. Rather than giving information about those options, they are excluded. Ultimately, this exclusion contradicts the tag line touted on the Pregnancy Resource Center’s website–“The Right to Choose Includes the Right to Know.” While the Pregnancy Resource Center and similar entities certainly have a legal right to exist, it is important both that people who might be using their services understand where the organization is coming from and for those supporting reproductive rights to understand the role that such centers play in the anti-abortion movement.

Appeals Court Rules Michigan’s Abortion Law Unconstitutional

On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that Michigan’s “partial-birth abortion” ban is unconstitutional. The court stated that Michigan’s 2004 “Legal Birth Definition Act” places an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion. It also stated that Michigan’s law “opted to use statutory language that pushed almost every boundary that the Supreme Court has imposed for these types of laws” rather than using language that had been previously upheld by the court. Instead, the legislature passed language that was overbroad and potentially banned pre-viable abortions.

Two previous bans passed by the Michigan legislature were struck down in 1997 and 2001 by federal courts.

Aquinas Students Protest Pro-Life Week

On Wednesday, students at Aquinas College protested “Pro-Life Awareness Week,” a week in which the group Students for Life sensationalize abortion through the erection of a mock “fetus cemetery” made up of crosses to symbolize aborted fetuses and displaying plastic models of fetuses in various stages of development.

At 9am on Wednesday, October 25, pro-choice students at Aquinas College assembled in the middle of campus to protest Pro-Life Awareness Week. For several years, The Aquinas College Students for Life have claimed an entire week devoted to sensationalizing abortion through the erection of a mock “fetus cemetery” that is made up of rows of wooden crosses that symbolize aborted fetuses, and displaying plastic models of fetuses at various stages of development. Several students appealed to the Women’s Studies Center on campus, prior to the designated Pro-Life Awareness Week, in an attempt to gain administrative support for a more comprehensive approach to the highly controversial issue of abortion. The students requested a forum in which a discussion on the topic of reproductive rights could take place and be moderated. Even with the support of the Women’s Studies Center, the administration denied the students’ request. Two students then proceeded to organize a protest to counter the overwhelming anti-choice movement on the campus.

Over 20 students attended the protest and many more stopped by to commend the protesters for bringing a voice to the pro-choice movement on campus. Even a few of the college’s employees and faculty offered their support, either by joining the student protesters or by providing words of encouragement. However, some students were hostile, including one individual who pulled her car over to the side of the road, jumped out, and began yelling at the protesters. She accused them of being blasphemous, shameful, and anti-Catholic. A few anti-choice students called the protesters “baby killers,” and “pro-abortion.” Though the protest was originally intended to be silent in order to prevent emotional, unmediated confrontation, the protesters re-addressed the notion of the silent protest after an hour or so and agreed that their presence would be more affective if they could speak to individuals, and thereby better communicate the purpose of the protest and its significance.

Halfway through the day, Terry Marshall, the wife of one of the Aquinas theology professors, who is also a faculty member, approached the pro-choice group and implied that she wanted to create a dialogue between the pro-choice students and Students for Life. She then continued on to preach her views on the evils of abortion. The students said they felt that she was non-receptive and condescending. Later that day, two other anti-choice faculty members, Mary Clark-Kaiser and Eric Bridge, confronted the protesters but remained respectful and engaged in relatively meaningful discussion with them.

Throughout the protest, Campus Safety officers stayed near by, but did not interfere. The protesters held their signs silently unless approached and addressed by someone, and aside from a few verbal attacks, the protest went un-interrupted for the full 9 hours. A photographer and a reporter from the Aquinas College student newspaper, The Saint, were also present and they assured the pro-choice students that the protest would be covered in the next issue.

Michigan Citizens for Life Ballot Initiative Fails to Qualify for Ballot

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan sent out a mass email to supporters yesterday stating that Michigan Citizens for Life have failed to obtain the 317,757 valid signatures necessary to place an amendment to the state constitution that would define personhood as beginning at the moment of conception. The initiative failed to gain the support of the statewide Right to Life organization due to “low expectations for the success” of the measure due in part to the far reaching nature of the proposal and indeed Michigan Citizens for Life opposed abortion in all cases including pregnancies caused through rape. The organization’s views on rape reflected a patriarchal view of women, with the organization’s website warning women and creating the impression that women are responsible for rape with the group warning women to “be cautious, drinking can lead to rape,” to “listen to danger signals and avoid rape when possible,” and cited scripture urging women to dress moderately and to practice “self-control.”

The initiative had gained the support of several far-right religious organizations including the Eagle Forum of Michigan, the American Family Association of Michigan, and various anti-choice groups. Religious right organizer Gary Glenn of the American Family Association—who is a self-described “activist, high-profile voice or traditional family values in Michigan and nationally on such issues as Internet pornography and the homosexual agenda”—was one of the campaign’s coordinators.

Michigan House Considers Bans on Emergency Contraceptives

Accorrding to BlackBox Radio, legislation being considered this week in the Michigan House Health Policy Committee will consider banning the sale of emergency contraceptives over the counter in Michigan even if the FDA approves its use. The power to Dispense pills would be limited to pharmacists. Other bills before the Legislature would allow pharmacists the right to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives, or any other medication, on moral grounds.

Emergency Contraception, also known as the “morning after” pill, is a concentrated dose of birth control pills that is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex. It thus prevents unwanted pregnancies and reduces abortions, and is a much safer alternative with few side effects. The Scientific Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly approved the sale of Emergency Contraceptives over-the-counter. However, the Bush administration has repeatedly tried to block the implementation of the panel’s recommendation.

The Michigan chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is calling on concerned Michigan residents to contact the legislature and help prevent the bill from moving forward. To find out more, visit www.prochoicemichigan.org.

Reproductive Rights is topic of discussion at Commission Hearing

In addition to the hearing on voter fraud and the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), the Michigan Civil Rights Commission also held a two hour hearing on reproductive rights in Michigan. At issue was the question of whether or not employers could legally exclude contraceptives from their health plans. Five women gave testimony on the subject and the Commission agreed to adopt a draft resolution that would consider such exclusion a form of discrimination.

On Monday, May 22 voter fraud wasn’t the only thing being discussed by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. At their 4pm hearing in Grand Rapids the issue of reproductive rights was also on the table. At issue was whether or not employers in Michigan could exclude contraceptives from their health care plans. Several people spoke in favor of inclusion of contraceptives in employer health care plans while noone from the public spoke against the inclusion of contraceptives in health care plans at the hearing.

Five different women gave testimony on this issue. First, Emily Malloy with the Michigan Women’s Commission spoke about how exclusion of contraceptives from an employer health care plan would be in violation of the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The other major point that Ms. Malloy made was that “if Viagra is included why not contraceptive drugs? This is an issue of equity, especially since contraceptives are extremely important as a preventative resource for women.” The only Commissioner to question this position was Commissioner Albert Calille. Calille, appointed by former Governor Engler, does litigation work for Ameritech. Calille stated that “Viagra is for either a disease or a dysfunctional disorder in men, but that contraceptive medicine was not.”

The next person to speak was Dr. Sharon Handy, someone with 22 years of medical practice. Dr. Handy said that coverage of contraceptives usually means oral contraceptives, which are “less than 5% of contraceptive uses for women.” She also stated that even with the healthiest of women anything can happen during a pregnancy and that the argument from Comm. Calille was inaccurate since all women are at risk during pregnancies, therefore contraceptives should be seen as essential in any health care plan for women.

Shelli Weisberg from the ACLU also spoke about how the federal regulations require companies with 15 or more employees must provide contraceptives in the health care plan. Weisberg then noted that in Michigan about 60% of women in Michigan work for employers who have less than 15 workers. She also pointed out that according to the National Business Group on Health that coverage that included contraceptives was more cost effective when weighed against unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. The Commission also heard from a mother who recently found out that her health care plan did not include contraceptives for her daughter and another women spoke about how more than half of her friends have contraceptives in their health care plans because they need it for hormonal imbalances and prolonged bleeding.

The Commission then discussed the matter amongst themselves and consulted legal counsel who was present at the meeting. It was stated that the Michigan Catholic Conference has come out against including contraceptives in an employer health care plan. The Commission noted that religious institutions might have the right to dictate such matters in their health care plans if it is a violation of their religious beliefs. The Commission then decided to agree to adopt a draft resolution which would consider the exclusion of contraceptives from an employer health care plan as discrimination, but that further discussion and investigation was needed before a final version of such a draft could be adopted.