Because the word "abortion" is not explicitly mentioned in the proposal, it is now commonly understood that abortion will be covered as part of the essential benefits package. Several pro-life amendments have been offered in an attempt to explicity exclude abortion coverage in any health care reform bill. All of these amendments have failed to pass.
Furthermore, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) offered an amendment to ensure that abortions are mandated. It requires any health insurance provider who wants to participate in government-run insurance networks to include “those essential community providers, where available, that serve predominantly low-income, medically underserved individuals..." An exchange between Sen. Mikulski and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) confirms that this language would indeed include groups like Planned Parenthood and other "women's health clinics that provide comprehensive services..."
Clearly, taxpayer-funded abortions would greatly increase the abortion rate across the nation. Nationally, we have seen a steady decline in the number of abortions for several years. However, if such legislation passes, we would see a drastic increase in that number almost immediately. This would have a direct impact on the ministry of the Crisis Pregnancy Center as well. Our services, which have always been provided at no cost, will now have to compete with free abortions which may draw many potential clients away from us and directly to the abortion clinics.
As Toby stated in his article, government-provided abortions could mean a possible 20-35% increase in the abortion rate, ushering in the "Second Great Wave of Abortion." The abortion rate here in South Hampton Roads alone could jump as high as 12,000 per year.
Another effect of abortions being provided as part of a basic benefits package in health care reform is that abortion will now be "mainstreamed" into the medical community and will be seen as morally equivalent to an appendectomy or any other legitimate and medically necessary procedure.
For more information on abortion in health care reform:
Congressional Health Care Bills Allow Tax-Funded Abortions
A Planned Parenthood in NY Praises Sen. Mikulski's Amendment for providing coverage for women's "health care" and ensuring "patients’ access to essential community providers, such as ...women’s health centers like Planned Parenthood."
The Cloakroom- the Blog of FRC Action: "Congresswoman: 'Abortion will be covered. . . And it should be'"
H.R. 3200 - "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009"