President Bush’s proposal to eliminate contraception coverage for federal employees was overturned yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee, virtually guaranteeing that the benefit extended to 1.2 million working women will stay in place. Twelve Republicans and 28 Democrats on the panel voted, 40-21, in favor of an amendment by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to rebuff Bush’s proposal and require federal health insurance plans to cover multiple methods of contraception for women of childbearing age. Supporters claim they are confident that they can defend the measure should it come to a vote on the House floor.
Bush attempted to eliminate the three-year old requirement, which currently calls for 250 federal health plans to cover five forms of birth control, including oral contraceptives, diaphragms, IUDs, Norplant and Depo-Provera. Though championed by conservative groups, women’s groups and lawmakers from both parties argued that the requirement cost the government nothing and would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.