The proposed rule is specifically designed to counter recent state laws enacted to ensure that women can get contraception when they want or need it.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Family planning groups and at least one member of Congress objected on Tuesday to a Bush administration memo that defines several widely used contraception methods as abortion and protects the right of medical providers to refuse to offer them.
The proposal would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states that attempt to compel medical providers to offer legal abortion and contraception services to women.
The proposal circulated to media defines abortion broadly to include many types of contraception, including birth control pills and intrauterine devices.
Health and Human Services officials declined to confirm the proposal, but noted their responsibility to protect against discrimination of doctors and pharmacists who object to abortion or birth control on religious or moral grounds.
"This proposed rule will put women's access to birth control and the information they need to make health care decisions at risk," Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.
"As a result, women's ability to manage their own health care is at risk of being compromised by politics and ideology."
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