Senate Panel OKs Abortion Coverage in Health Care Bill, Senator Forced to Admit

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Panel OKs Abortion Coverage in Health Care Bill, Senator Forced to Admit

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 13
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — During a Senate committee meeting on Friday, a leading pro-abortion senator was forced to admit that one of the health care bills pending in the Senate will include abortion coverage. After the admission, the Senate panel voted to include abortions in that version of a national health care plan.

Three pro-life senators used Thursday’s Senate HELP Committee meeting to force the leadership’s hand on its agenda of including abortion in a public health care plan.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, stammered her way through an explanation of an amendment to the health care bill that would cover abortion.

When pressed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, she admitted that her language would force health insurance companies to contract with abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

Hatch asked, "Would this include abortion providers? I mean, it looks to me like you’re expanding it to… for instance, Planned Parenthood. Would that put them into this system?"

"It would include women’s health clinics that provide comprehensive services and under the definition of a woman’s health clinic, it would include, uh, it would include, uh, Planned, uh, Parenthood clinics. It would, um, it does not expand in any way expand a service," Mikulski responded. "In other words, it does not expand, um, uh, or mandate abortion service."

Mikulski admitted that the bill "would provide for any service deemed medically necessary or medically appropriate" and pro-life advocates point out the Obama administration could easily declare abortions medically necessary or appropriate.

Later during the hearing, Hatch asked Mikulski if she would be willing to support making the bill abortion neutral in exchange for support for the bill. She would have none of it.

Hatch asked, "Madam Chairman, would you be willing to put some language in [about] not including abortion services? Then I think you would have more support."

She responded, "No, I would not, uh, be willing to do that at this time."

Mikulski’s amendment to include abortion coverage in the bill passed by a razor-thin 12-11 margin with Republicans opposing the amendment along with Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was the only member of his party to oppose the amendment.

"The way it is written is too broad," Casey said. "The way it is written could be interpreted down the road to include something like abortion."

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council responded to the vote and said the work of pro-life groups "is starting to have a major impact on the direction of the health care debate."

"Yesterday, the HELP Committee showed just how much influence our campaign against abortion coverage is having on Republicans and Democrats," he said. "After weeks of insisting that their plan doesn’t include abortion, liberals like Sen. Barbara Mikulski were smoked out of hiding by pro-lifers from both parties."

"Before our coalition started hammering away at the definition of ‘reproductive health care,’ groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL were silent, believing their billions in federal funding were safe. Now their Senate allies are on the defensive, trying to justify abortion as a part of taxpayer-funded ‘health care,’" he concluded.

The amendment would require health insurance companies to contract with organizations like Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.

Insurers would have to cover "essential community providers…that serve predominantly low-income, medically under-served individuals" such as Planned Parenthood.

ACTION: See the members of the committee and send them an email or call them in response to the vote for the pro-abortion Mikulski amendment. Tell them you don’t want abortion coverage in health care.

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