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Elections & Politics

McCain's Long Pause Leaves Women Wondering Whether He Cares About Their Health Care

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 07.10.08

McCain Ducks Question About Insurance Coverage of Birth Control

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, questioned Sen. John McCain's commitment to women's health care after Sen. McCain could not answer when asked if he thought it was fair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control.

"Time after time, Sen. McCain has shown that he is out of touch when it comes to women's health care," said Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president. "Birth control is basic health care for women. But yesterday, Sen. McCain ducked a straightforward question about whether he thinks insurance companies should cover birth control. Women in America are still waiting for his answer." 

In 2003, McCain voted NO on the Murray Amendment (S.Amdt 258 to S. 3, vote 45, 3/11/03), which would have improved the availability of contraceptives for women and required insurance coverage of prescription birth control.

Yesterday, aboard his campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, had this exchange with a reporter: 

Reporter: "? It was unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?"

McCain responded: "I don't know enough about it to give you an informed answer."

McCain went on to say, "It's something that I had not thought much about, and I did hear about her response, but I hadn't thought much. But I will get, I will get back to you today on it."

According to the Guttmacher Institute, "Nearly all sexually active women (98 percent in 2002) have used at least one method of birth control."

Guttmacher also reports that women spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.