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Rather than await Congressional action on a bill that would allow states to provide prenatal coverage for low-income women through the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Bush administration wants to achieve that goal through administrative action. HHS plans to promulgate a regulation that would change the definition of "child" to include the period from conception to birth. That would allow, though not require, states to use SCHIP funding to provide coverage not only to mothers-to-be but to their unborn babies as well.
Pro-choice groups, like Planned Parenthood Federation of America, say the proposed rule is a thinly disguised move to undermine "the rights of women to make their own childbearing choices" by extending the legal definition of "child" to a fetus. But HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson denies that the administrations plan is a back door to outlawing abortion, claiming that the bill "is about our undeniable health needs throughout the life cycle."
Apparently not. Some 65 percent of the public want the penny to stay in circulation, and three out of four say they would still pick up a penny on the street, according to a survey by Coinstar, which owns and operates coin-sorting machine. Men seem less patient with small change: About two-fifths say the federal government should pitch the penny. Most of those in favor of banning the coin want it scrapped even if it meant that merchants would round up prices to the nearest nickel.
Nearly three in four women want the US Mint to keep making the cent-piece, however. And the coin seems to have more fans among older Americans. While nearly half of those between 18 and 34 say they have thrown away a penny at least once, only 11 percent of people over the age of 65 have tossed one.
Joan Rose. ONLINE News Briefs.