A pro-life leader has criticized the Senate’s addition of the Mikulski Amendment to the proposed health care bill, voicing concerns that the provision’s sponsor herself has admitted it would fund some of Planned Parenthood’s services. The amendment’s required coverage of “preventive care” could also include abortions.
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).
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, charged that the bill would “further mandate inclusion of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest network of abortion, in a national health care scheme.”
He described this as a “breach of faith” with the American people. Perkins claimed that because the bill does not exclude abortion explicitly, there is “no doubt” that the Mikulski Amendment creates the opportunity for a “massive public underwriting of abortion.”
He also cited a July 9, 2009 exchange between Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the amendment’s sponsor Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
In that exchange, Sen. Hatch asked if her amendment would include abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.
“It would include women's health clinics that provide comprehensive services and under the definition of a woman's health clinic, it would include Planned Parenthood clinics,” Sen. Mikulski replied.
She said that the bill would provide for “any service deemed medically necessary or medically appropriate.”
Sen. Hatch responded that he would have difficulty supporting the bill.
Sen. Mikulski, a self-professed Catholic, later told Sen. Hatch that she would not be willing to add language about excluding abortion services “at this time.”
In his Thursday statement, Perkins said that without the adoption of the Stupak Amendment’s language in the Senate, it is “very clear that taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions.”
Perkins added that the FRC applauded Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) for opposing the Mikulski Amendment.