A common argument in support of the HHS mandate is "the mandate helps poor women who need health care." There are numerous fallacies here. First off, abortion, sterilization and contraception are not health care. Secondly, they are completely elective - nobody needs contraception to live. In fact, to the extent that any aspect of these is actual health care, they are already covered by insurance, and not considered immoral. For instance, use of the birth control pill to control hormonal conditions is not immoral, and is covered by insurance.
But let's compare this to something which is unarguably necessary for life - food. Does anybody feel that contraception is more important to life than food? No? I didn't think so. So what is the Obama administration's position on access to food versus access to contraception?
Well, if you are below a certain income level you can apply for food stamps. Here's a summary of some of the requirements for receiving food stamps (this link has the full list).
Gross income limits are established by the federal government and adjusted annually.In terms of what you get:
A family may have liquid resources (cash, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.) of up to $2,000.
If eligible, the amount of benefits received is determined by household size and adjusted gross income after deductions.
The SNAP Employment and Training program requires those applicants who are able to register for work and cooperate in seeking and keeping employment.
All SNAP recipients must report anytime their monthly gross income is over the maximum allowed for their household size.
All SNAP recipients are also required to complete a recertification (review) process once every 12 months.
You can buy foods such as plants and seeds that will be used to grow food for the family to eat. You can also buy dairy products, meats, vegetables and fruits, and cereals and breads. Foods that are not allowed include hot foods already made, foods that are eaten in-store, medicines and vitamins, any paper goods, pet foods, cigarettes and alcohol. If you pay sales tax on an item, chances are that item is not an allowed food item.So, there are very strict limits on who can get free food. You have to be at or near the poverty level, have little to no money or assets, be actively seeking work, and the government monitors your income and other aspects of your life monthly and yearly. Only certain basic foods can be purchased. Fast food, restaurant food, etc. are not allowed.
In other words, in only the hardest cases can people get food stamps, and they will only provide basic nourishment. In fact, the current federal rules will be cutting the amount of food stamps starting January 1. This in a nation where one in six people are experiencing "food insecurity" (are in danger of not getting enough food to stay alive).
Now consider abortion, sterilization and contraceptives. Under Obamacare's HHS mandate they are totally free, in unlimited amounts, to everybody, regardless of income. And not just cheap contraception like condoms, everything up to and including the most expensive stuff is all free. Rather than making millionaires pay for a poor homeless person's contraception, middle class citizens are paying for millionaires' contraception.
If the administration was really concerned about the nutritional of citizens to the same extent it cares about putting money in the coffers of big pharma and big abortion, it would make all foods completely free for everybody. Homeless people could eat lobster and caviar on the public dime every night. Or conversely, it would only provide basic contraception coverage to the poorest of the poor, and the rest of the country would have to pay for theirs.
So in other words, the HHS mandate is not about "helping" the poor.