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July 15, 2008

Does John McCain Think Birth-Control Programs Should Cover Birth Control?

As The New York Times reports on proposed Bush administration rules affecting contraception, McCain's bad record on birth control puts him on the defensive

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called on presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain to say whether he supports the Bush administration's proposed regulation that is written to discourage health-care plans from providing birth control to women.

Keenan, who was quoted in a story in today's New York Times regarding the proposed rule changes, said the Bush administration's latest attack on contraception will draw even more attention to John McCain's record of voting 22 times against birth control. The news about the Bush proposals comes one week after McCain adviser Carly Fiorina voiced support for the issue of insurance coverage for contraception, even though McCain voted against such coverage twice.

When asked about the contradiction by reporters, McCain, after a long eight-second pause caught on camera and replayed on major networks, said he couldn't recall his votes on the issue.

"McCain's straight-talk express seems to hit a speed bump when asked about his votes against family planning and birth control," Keenan said. "Today's news only underscores why we need to elect pro-choice Sen. Barack Obama as our next president. Sen. McCain has a long record of votes against birth control, and Americans can only expect to see these attacks on women's health to continue with McCain in the White House."

The regulation would allow health-care corporations or individuals to consider birth control "abortion" and therefore to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it. The proposal has the potential to undermine hard-fought laws that ensure women's access to birth control.  In addition, the proposed regulation could affect Medicaid and the Title X family-planning program. For instance, staff at clinics or health-care plans that contract for Medicaid services could refuse to provide contraception services.

"This is a reminder of how Bush can attack women's health as he prepares to leave the White House," Keenan said.


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