By Jeanne Monahan
Yesterday, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement including the following: “If the current Senate language introduced by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is maintained, it would result in the most significant restriction in access to abortion coverage in the nearly 35 years since the U.S. Congress first adopted the Hyde Amendment…For that reason, Planned Parenthood opposed the Nelson provision when it was proposed and continues to oppose it.”
This statement makes me wonder if Ms. Richards and I are looking at different bills. To set the record straight, the Senate bill goes beyond current law restricting government funding of abortion and plans that include abortion.
In Section 1303, the bill allows tax credit subsidies for plans that include abortion and leaves an abortion surcharge in place. It then maintains the proposal to create a multi-state plan that includes abortion in Sec. 1334. Lastly, the Obama proposal would increase the Senate bill funding from $7 billion to $11 billion for community health centers in Sec. 10503 without any abortion funding restrictions.
The sad reality, in the words of FRC president Tony Perkins is that “If this bill becomes law, this Congress will oversee the largest ever expansion of abortion on demand at taxpayer expense.”
Planned Parenthood’s claim that the bill is more restrictive of abortion funding than current law is disingenuously inaccurate. However, if Planned Parenthood truly does want to maintain current policy since the 1970s under the Hyde amendment, then we’ve found common ground, and can agree that inclusion of the Stupak amendment to maintain the status quo on government abortion funding is the best way forward.