.- A Catholic-run health insurance plan which does not cover abortion, contraceptives or fertility treatment has been made available to federal employees this morning in part of Illinois, reports Associated Press. According to officials, it is the first plan of its kind to be offered to federal employees. "I see it as allowing the individual government employee to exercise their moral judgment and to follow their moral conscience in terms of how they want their benefit dollars spent," said Philip Karst, executive director of the Illinois Catholic Health Association.
A company owned by the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis, OSF HealthPlans, runs the plan which is offered to 4,000 eligible residents of 27 counties of central and northern Illinois, not including Chicago.
Planned Parenthood has attacked the plan calling it an attack by the Bush administration on access to family planning and birth control.
However, Abbey Block, an OSF official, pointed out that the plan is only one out of 249 offered to federal employees. "Nobody has to enroll in this plan," said Block.