Discount for student contraceptives removed from war funding bill

.- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill for the Iraq war after stripping a Senate provision that would indirectly subsidize Planned Parenthood and university health clinics that distribute contraceptives.

A Friday press release from Concerned Women for America said the provision in the War Supplemental Bill, if approved, would have allowed some Planned Parenthood clinics and university healthcare centers to acquire drugs at reduced prices, including the Plan B “morning-after pill.”

The $168 billion bill passed by a vote of 268-155, Reuters reports.

The Senate version of the bill had added under “Title VI—Other Health Matters” a section titled “Restoration of Access to Nominal Drug Pricing for Certain Clinics and Health Centers” which included the discount for contraceptives. The House version of the bill lacked the same Title VI.

The provision had been added by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senators Patty Murray (Wash.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), and Ben Nelson (Neb.), all Democrats, had requested that the amendment be added to the bill.

“Our troops need funding, and their bill should not be loaded up with benefits for Planned Parenthood,” said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. “Planned Parenthood already receives over $300 million in funding from federal, state and local governments.  In 2006, Planned Parenthood reported a record revenue of $112 million.  CWA is pleased this bill funds our troops instead of lining the already inflated pockets of Planned Parenthood.”

“This is one of those situations where, because of the entanglements [of legislation] there’s really no one to call and thank, but it’s still a very big victory, and it lies at the heart of our grassroots activists,” said Martha Kleder, a CWA policy analyst, in an audio briefing posted at the CWA web site.

In 2005, as part of the Deficit Reduction Act, Congress made university health clinics and clinics that dispense birth control and abortion drugs ineligible to receive discounts on drugs provided under the Public Health Service Act.

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