Health insurance plans will be required to provide no-cost coverage of contraceptives — including drugs that can cause abortions — under a recommendation made to the federal government July 19.

Drugs with abortion-inducing properties, such as “ella” and the emergency contraceptive Plan B, would be considered preventive services for women under last year’s health-care reform law if the suggestion is accepted by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Those drugs and all birth control methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be included in a range of services offered to patients free of charge under guidelines from an Institute of Medicine committee.

Sebelius appeared to indicate her enthusiastic support for the panel’s recommendations. According to The Washington Post, she called the report “historic,” adding the recommendations are “based on science and existing literature.”

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