Health care bill’s definition of ‘preventive care’ could be backdoor for mandatory abortion coverage
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

.- The passage of an amendment requiring “preventive care” for women in the Senate’s proposed health care bill could provide a backdoor to make abortion coverage mandatory, pro-life advocates warn. The Mikulski Amendment, passed on Thursday by a vote of 61-39, requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide coverage for “preventive care” for women and bars them from imposing cost sharing requirements on such care.

Under the amendment, “preventive care” would be defined by the comprehensive guidelines of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The National Right to Life Committee has reported that some pro-abortion advocates consider abortion to be “preventive” health care.

It said the National Abortion Federation co-sponsored a 2009 publication titled “Providing Abortion Care” which explicitly stated that advance practice clinicians are “especially well positioned within the health care system to address women’s need for comprehensive primary preventive health care that includes abortion care.”

The Mikulski Amendment’s vulnerability to pro-abortion redefinition has concerned some pro-life leaders.

“While this amendment does not explicitly require abortion coverage, it also fails to explicitly exclude it,” wrote Mary Harned of Americans United for Life (AUL) at the AUL website.

If the HRSA categorizes abortion as preventive care, it would recommend coverage for abortion by all private plans and force them to offer abortion coverage.

Harned charged that this would further “the abortion lobby’s agenda of mainstreaming abortion as health care.”

The NRLC said concerns that “preventive care” will include abortion should not be dismissed. But it argued that those who do dismiss those concerns should therefore have no objection to explicitly excluding abortion from that definition.

The Mikulski Amendment was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). The Associated Press reports that it was intended to safeguard coverage of mammograms and preventive screening tests for women under a revamped health system.

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