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The Murkowski vs. the Mikulski Amendment

At 11:45 today, the Senate will vote on two abortion-related amendments to the Senate health care bill:  the Murkowski (R-Alaska) amendment and the Mikulski (D-Maryland) amendment.  Both amendments will require 60 votes to pass.

The Murkowski amendment

Senator Murkowski’s amendment would ensure that abortion is not classified by the government as “preventive care” or as a “preventive service.”

The amendment provides, in pertinent part:

Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed to authorize the Secretary, or any other governmental or quasi governmental entity, to define or classify abortion or abortion services as “preventive care” or as a “preventive service”.

This amendment would answer the concerns raised by the Mikulski amendment, explained below.

The Mikulski amendment

The Mikulski amendment, in pertinent part, requires group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance to provide coverage for and not impose cost sharing requirements on “preventive care” for women “as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).”

While this amendment does not explicitly require abortion coverage, it also fails to explicitly exclude it.  The HRSA could categorize abortion as “preventive care,” and would therefore recommend coverage for abortion by all private plans.  The recommendation would force private plans to offer abortion coverage, furthering the abortion lobby’s agenda of mainstreaming abortion as health care.