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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Poor women whose abortions would not be covered by Medicaid also are ineligible for government reimbursement for the abortion pill RU-486, the government has notified states.

The Health and Human Services Department told state Medicaid directors in a Friday letter that RU-486, like abortions, will only be covered when a pregnancy results from rape or incest or when a woman's life is in jeopardy.

``Because this is an abortion drug, the same restrictions have to apply to it,'' department spokesman Campbell Gardett said Saturday. ``This is just taking the law and applying it as we're required to do.''

RU-486, marketed by Danco Laboratories as mifepristone, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in September after years of debate. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has said he will order a review of that decision.

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