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Axing coverage for birth control

April 27, 2001 | Page 2

WASHINGTON--Somewhere in the recesses of his budget, George W. Bush managed to squeeze in a provision to cut birth control access for women who work for the federal government. A single paragraph in the 1,296-page document would end required birth control coverage for 1.2 million federal workers and their dependents.

The current policy, instituted in 1998, requires that all of the 250 plans for federal employees pay for five forms of birth control: the pill, Norplant, IUDs, Depo-Provera and diaphragms. If Bush's plan goes through, most health plans could cover just one method --decided by the insurer, not patients.

The provision is Bush's special gift to anti-abortion fanatics. When Susan Orr, of the right-wing Family Research Council, heard about the proposal at a briefing for conservative groups, she was elated. "This was one of the things that they were happy to tell us about," Orr gushed.

These are the same people who want to take away women's right to abortion--which, by the way, congressional Republicans already barred from being covered by federal workers' insurance. While Bush sneaks prizes into his budget for the right wing, women are paying the price with their reproductive rights.

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