Bush May End Contraception Coverage for Federal Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A U.S. court ruled that birth control prescriptions must be covered under a company´s employee health care plan, but the Bush administration is giving indications that it may take away such coverage for federal workers.

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«The president has a budget now that calls for removal of the provision of contraception coverage for federal employees,» Judith DeSarno, president of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, told reporters today, Reuters said. «The federal government is the largest employer in the world, they really set the standard.»

Her statement came a day after a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, ruled that Bartell Drug Company must cover birth control prescriptions in its employee health care plan.

DeSarno said that for three years, federal employees, retirees and their dependents have had comparable coverage, but this could end next year under a White House budget proposal that eliminates the requirement for birth control coverage.

A spokesman at the Office of Personnel Management said President George W. Bush´s 2002 budget rescinded the requirement for birth control prescription coverage. The spokesman, who declined to be named, said this proposed change was the president´s decision and he did not know Bush´s specific rationale for it.

In the United States, 80% of employers who offer health maintenance organization plans to their employees include some form of contraception as part of the plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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