Medicare to Cover Viagra, While Bush Administration Continues to Block Women's Access to Morning-After Pill

To: National Desk
Contact: Ted Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice America, 202-973-3032

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation's leading advocate for personal privacy and a woman's right to choose, said Americans are outraged that the Bush Administration will allow Medicare to cover prescriptions for sexual enhancement drugs such as Viagra while blocking efforts to give women access to emergency contraceptives that would reduce the need for abortion.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement: "Americans opened their newspapers today to read yet another example of the Bush Administration not giving women's reproductive health needs equal treatment. The president is willing to allow coverage of Viagra under Medicare, but his FDA continues to delay a decision on whether women can have access to Plan B, a morning- after pill, from their pharmacies."

"Despite overwhelming support for the pill's safety and effectiveness from medical experts and the Food and Drug Administration's own staff, the Bush Administration blocked such access last year. Because the FDA is now considering another petition, it has an excellent opportunity to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion."

"Today's news is especially disturbing to women in this country who either do not have their prescription birth control covered by their health insurance or face the prospect of their pharmacists refusing to fill these prescriptions. We call on the Bush White House to drop its opposition to the morning-after pill to ensure that women have equitable access to prescriptions for their reproductive health. This issue isn't about Viagra; it is about fairness and equality."

Bear in mind that when Medicare DOES cover even standard birth conrol pills, it is generally only if they can be prescribed for "health reasons." (As if contraception and avoiding unplanned pregnancy had nothing to do with women's health.) So, the message is pretty crystal: our government feels male sexual enjoyment is not only something we should all pay for (and boy howdy, don't we do so enough already in so many ways?), but that it is more important than women's sexual health, sexual autonomy and general well-being.

Quelle surprise.

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