Free Birth Control

By WEEK Reporter

August 1, 2011 Updated Aug 1, 2011 at 8:52 PM CDT

New guidelines issued Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services will make birth control free to many women, starting a year from now.

Insurance companies will be required to cover all FDA approved contraceptives for new plans, without a co-pay.

This includes the pill, IUD's, and the so-called "Morning After Pill", a prescription that works by blocking or delaying ovulation.

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned.

OB-GYN's say the ability to plan for pregnancies is crucial for women's health.

"Contraceptives are used to control irregular bleeding, skin conditions, endometriosis treatment," said Dr. Judy Volkar of the Cleveland Clinic.

The guidelines include a provision that allows religious institutions to opt out of birth control coverage.

They do not require coverage of RU-486 and other medications used to chemically induce abortions.

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