In one paragraph in the appendix to his proposed budget, President Bush suggests eliminating contraceptive coverage for federal employees for 1.2 million female employees and their dependents covered under the federal employees health benefits plan. The provision, written by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) in 1998, requires all of the 250 health plans serving federal employees to pay for five different types of birth control approved by the FDA, and has not imposed any additional costs on insurance companies.
“President Bush isn’t interested in working together. He only wants to satisfy a small but key group of supporters who oppose all contraception as well as abortion,” Rep. Lowey said. In fact, conservative groups welcomed the announcement. Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services held a budget briefing for DC metro area conservative groups and announced the proposed elimination of contraceptive coverage as something that would “please” them. Abortion rights groups are angered by the proposal. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, called the proposed cut “the height of hypocrisy for a president who opposes a woman’s right to choose to also limit women’s access to the very thing that prevents unwanted pregnancies and makes abortions less necessary.”