Discount for student contraceptives added to Iraq war funding bill


An amendment that would indirectly fund Planned Parenthood and university health clinics that distribute contraceptives has been added by the Senate Appropriations Committee to a U.S. Senate bill meant to fund continued operations in the Iraq war.

The measure would again allow Planned Parenthood clinics and university health centers to receive drugs at discounted prices. 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, Cybercast News Service reports.

Senators Patty Murray (Wash.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), and Ben Nelson (Neb.), all Democrats, requested that the amendment be added to the bill. Both Murray and Harkin have received 100 percent approval ratings from Planned Parenthood, while in 2007 Kohl received a 100 percent favorability rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Planned Parenthood already has a massive markup on its drugs," Wendy Wright, president of the pro-life group Concerned Women for America, told Cybercast News Service. "They get them at a severely reduced price as it is, and then they turn around and sell them for a rather high price to their clients."

Lisa Miller, communications director for the minority Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that some Republicans think the bill is deceptively written.

"It is widely known that specialty hospitals, many of them operated by doctors with special skills, provide excellent care and satisfy their patients," Miller said to Cybercast News Service. "The new bill language is a classic earmark, written to look as if it helps specialty hospitals, (while) actually harming nearly all of them."

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