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ARHP Applauds New HHS Prevention Guidelines but Takes Exception to Religious Exemptions

Essential evidence-based guidance will help ensure better access to healthcare for women but ideological exemptions for religious institutions are not acceptable.

For Immediate Release
August 1,  2011

Statement by Wayne C. Shields, President and CEO

The Association of Reproductive Professionals (ARHP) applauds the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for adopting their new Guidelines for Prevention Services that include Medicare coverage for well-woman visits and support for breastfeeding equipment, contraception, and domestic violence screening.

This evidence-based decision, recommended by a specially appointed Institute of Medicine expert committee, will help reduce the number of American women experiencing avoidable health-related conditions while improving their overall quality of life.

But in an unfortunate move, HHS has tempered their evidence-based decision by including an as yet undetermined exemption policy for religious institutions who may object to the new Guidelines. ARHP encourages HHS to rethink this ideologically-based action by either reversing it or crafting a very narrow exemption policy.


The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) is the leading source for trusted medical education and information on reproductive and sexual health. ARHP educates health care providers, informs consumers, and helps shape public policy. ARHP is a non-profit membership association composed of highly qualified and committed experts in reproductive health. ARHP members are health professionals in clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy and they include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, researchers, educators, pharmacists, and other professionals in reproductive health. To learn more, visit: