Mikulski healthcare amendment with abortion loophole passes 61-39

abortion is not healthcare.jpgUDPATE, 12:23: Specifics on the Mikulski abortion loophole from a DC source:

Pro-life leaders opposed the amendment because it provides authority that could be used to mandate abortion coverage in private insurance plans. It specifies that anything classified as preventive care or screenings for women by the Health Resource and Services Administration would become a mandated covered service. Therefore, if HRSA recommended abortion as a preventive care, insurance plans would have to cover abortion.
Pro-life organizations advocated for simple language to ensure abortion would not be mandated, but no clarifying language was added.

12:11p: Read LifeNews.com for details.
Here is the 61-39 vote breakdown. 3 Republicans voted FOR the amendment and 2 Democrats voted AGAINST. Republicans were Collins, Snowe, and Vitter. Democrats were Feingold and Nelson….

Although the Mikulski Amendment is billed as providing more preventative measures for women, such as mammograms, it includes an abortion loophole. (See loophole details in update above.)
But contrary to friend Erick Erickson’s RedState.com’s analysis this morning, GOP leaders did not throw pro-lifers under the bus by not filibustering the bill.
The GOP demanded the same 60-vote threshold to pass Mikulski as it would take the other side to stop a filibuster, and Democrats acquiesced to their demand.
In other words, the Mikulski Amendment been brought up for a vote no matter what. But Republicans were able to slow the entire process for 2 days, using the time to expose more of the Democrats’ agenda. The ticking clock is our friend.
Meanwhile the Republicans’ Murkowski Amendment, which would have closed the abortion loophole, failed 41-59.

21 thoughts on “Mikulski healthcare amendment with abortion loophole passes 61-39”

  1. Family Planning, including abortion, is a pillar of healthcare in a civilized, industrialized society. Plain and simple. Either have legal abortion within a sensible time limit, or the US will become become Brazil or sub-saharan Africa..

  2. Dhalgren,
    I assume you are referring to the notion that abortion is “safer” in
    where it is legal. The Jivin J post today addresses this and the op-ed piece by Nicolas R.P. Lewine counters this notion (link below).
    The Harvard Crimson
    “Stumping for Stupak”
    Published: Thursday, December 03, 2009
    …Finally, opponents of the Stupak amendment claim that the amendment would lead to more unsafe abortions, which are likely to harm women. Participants in an anti-Stupak rally in Harvard Square on Nov. 18 brandished coat hangers and handed out flyers that said legal restrictions on abortion “just make abortions dangerous.”
    This claim likely has its roots in a 2007 Guttmacher Institute study of worldwide abortion that concluded that countries in which abortions were illegal had significantly higher rates of unsafe abortions. However, the fatal flaw in this conclusion is that the countries where abortions are illegal are almost entirely developing countries, including most of Africa. The countries where abortions are legal include the United States, Europe, and other already developed nations. Moreover, 97 percent of unsafe abortions were in developing nations. This argument attributes the disparity in unsafe abortions to legal restrictions while not addressing the fact that medical care in countries where abortion is illegal is vastly inferior, much less available, and often not performed by adequately trained professionals. So it is misleading to claim, based on this study, that making abortions illegal would cause a rise in unsafe abortions. (Moreover, it is important to remember that the Stupak amendment does not actually make abortions illegal.)….

  3. “Family Planning, including abortion, is a pillar of healthcare in a civilized, industrialized society. Plain and simple.”
    This claim needs to be defended. I wanted to discuss this unstated assumption with Ann yesterday but did not have the time. Health care should not be a business where the customer recieves a product. Rather, it should be about healing people, and in this sense, there is an objective criteria which determines what constitutes health care.
    Consider the following illustrations. If I am examiner by 100 knee surgeons to see if I am a candidate for knee surgery, 100% of those surgeons surveyed will say that I am not a candidate for knee surgery. However, if a pregnant woman goes before a doctor and the doctor is to determine whether or not she should have an abortion, he can say nothing. The reason is because the choice to have an abortion is solely up to the woman, based on her preferences. There is no objective, empirical evidence that a doctor can point to, unlike in the case of knee surgery. The problem is that when someone needs knee surgery, it is because there is something wrong with them- part of their body is not functioning properly. Yet in the case of pregnancy, everything is functioning properly but one who seeks an abortion is looking to interfere with something that is functioning properly.
    Hence, I see no reason why health care should include elective procedures which interfere with those parts which are functioning properly. In fact, why stop at abortion? Why shouldn’t health care include other elective procedures which interfere with properly functioning and healthy organs? Suppose I wish to have my left arm amputated for no other reason than I don’t want it anymore. Or suppose I wish to switch my feet and my hands- I would like my hands where my feet are and my feet where my hands are. In these cases and in the case of abortion, we are talking about an elective procedure which is not meant to heal something that is not functioning properly in any objective sense, yet to interfere with properly functioning organs.
    I think the above framework is a rational starting point for determining what constitutes health care, and if so, things like abortion should not be included in health care.

  4. What are Collins and Snowe doing in the Republican party? They almost always vote with the Democrats.
    Vitter is usually a reliable Republican vote so don’t know what happened to him this time, but the other two need to do what Spector did and join the Democrats.

  5. Joanne,
    This was most likely a tactical move to prevent socialized health care from passing at all. If the senate bill allows funding of abortions thw house won’t go for it. The Republicans only had the bare minimum vote for it so it won’t be so obvious.

  6. “Health care should not be a business where the customer recieves a product. Rather, it should be about healing people, and in this sense, there is an objective criteria which determines what constitutes health care.”
    That makes perfect sense to me. I suppose one of the next issues might be how to address preventive care. Should that be paid out of pocket or covered by insurance? Does it include basic annual check-ups? Immunizations? At some point, the medical community decided that preventative care would reduce overall costs it began to be covered by insurance.
    Am I getting ahead of the discussion you’re proposing?

  7. “Am I getting ahead of the discussion you’re proposing? ”
    Haha, yeah, I think a little bit, Janet. I’m basically looking at the question right now of surgery and other similar operations. But you bring up a point that certainly needs to be addressed. God love you.

  8. But come to think of it, Janet, preventative medicine fits in nicely with the framework I’m proposing because presumably you are attempting to prevent some sort of disease or sickness i.e. trying to keep your organs and other body parts working properly. This eliminates things like contraceptives from health care because again, it is a matter of purely subjective wants of the individual whether preventing a child in the future is a good or bad thing. There is no objectivity there outside of the wants of the individual since your reproductive organs are working PROPERLY, yet one wishes to “break” the proper function of those reproductive organs. Again, what is then to stop us from demanding “medicine” which causes our properly working kidneys or pancreas or any other properly working organ to cease functioning properly and calling that “health care”? I do not see a viable framework which includes the suppression of properly working reproductive organs but does not the suppression of other properly working organs.

  9. We’ve had a lot of people ask Steven if he was going to get me “fixed”. He just gives them a dirty look and says, “She’s not BROKEN.”
    Obviously not, Exhibit A:

  10. Posted by: Dhalgren at December 3, 2009 1:37 PM
    Family Planning, including abortion, is a pillar of healthcare in a civilized, industrialized society. Plain and simple. Either have legal abortion within a sensible time limit, or the US will become become Brazil or sub-saharan Africa.
    If that statement contained a single microm of truth the United States would have already been a vast wasteland in the hundred or so years leading up to the decriminalization of child killing.
    Instead the United States continues to feed itself and much of the undeveloped world.
    And the people from the undeveloped countries are literally dying to get here.
    You have once again provided us with one more stunning example of how stupid humans can be.
    A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Use it or lose it.
    yor bro ken

  11. Your baby is adorable! I’m a little biased being an Aunt to 6 1/2 (#7 is due late April, I’m hoping for another niece).
    Good for your husband saying that “You’re not broken”. Its terrible the way society treats big families. I went to school with a guy who was one of what became 9 children (his youngest sister is a junior or senior in high school). My dad was 5th of 7! My mom was #2 of 7. Why are large families scoffed at? They never lack for love, even if they lack for big expensive gadgets.

  12. Dhalgren,
    The “making abortions illegal was cause more back-alley and unsafe abortions” myth has been debunked time and time again. The Harvard Crimson article is one good academic response.
    Also, in debunking the “5,000 to 10,000 abortion deaths before legalization” myth, let’s look at the source:
    “In the case of the 5,000 – 10,000 claims, the original source was a book — Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced — published in 1936 by Dr. Frederick Taussig, a leading proponent of legalization of abortion. Taussig calculated an urban abortion rate based on records of a New York City birth control clinic, and a rural abortion rate based on some numbers given to him by some doctors in Iowa. He took a guess at a mortality rate, multiplied by his strangely generated estimate of how many criminal abortions were taking place, and presto! A myth is born!
    Even if Taussig’s calculations, by some mathematical miracle, had been correct, they still would have been out of date by the end of WWII. Antibiotics and blood transfusions changed the face of medicine. But not only are the Taussig numbers dated, they were never accurate to begin with. At a conference in 1942, Taussig himself appologized for using “the wildest estimates” to generate a bogus number. Although it took Taussig six years to reject his own faulty calculations, at least he did admit that he’d been wrong. Other abortion enthusiasts lacked Taussig’s compunctions. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news — Nathanson came clean over twenty years ago.”
    Also, if you looks at statistical trends for abortion deaths from 1940 to 1970, the number of deaths actually began to decrease even before the legalization of abortion began in the 1960’s, with 1,407 deaths in 1940, 744 deaths in 1945, 263 deaths in 1950, 224 deaths in 1955, 251 deaths in 1960, 201 deaths in 1965, and 119 deaths in 1970. Source: “Induced termination of pregnancy before and after Roe v. Wade” JAMA, 12/9/92, vol. 208, no. 22, p. 3231-3239.
    Much of the decrease in maternal/infant and abortion mortality during the time period can be attributed to improved antibiotics, improved access to blood products, improved surgical techniques, broader access to adequate prenatal care, vaccinations, and improvements in environmental health/sanitation, to name a few.
    Also if we look at abortion practice before legalization: “Mary Claderone (then Medical Director of Planned Parenthood) and Nancy Howell Lee (a pro choice researcher) both investigated the practice of criminal abortion in the pre-legalization era. Calderone estimated that “90% of all illegal abortions are presently (1960 – ed) being done by physicians.” Calderone further estimated that 8% were self-induced and that 2% were induced by someone other than the woman or a doctor. Lee estimated that 89% of pre-legalization abortions were done by physicians, an additional 5% by nurses or others with some medical training, and 6% were done by non-medical persons or the woman herself. Calderone’s numbers came from “43 men and women from the various disciplines of obstetrics, psychiatry, public health, sociology, forensic medicine, and law and demography.” Lee interviewed women who had undergone pre-legalization abortions. The discrepancy between Lee’s and Calderone’s breakdowns of non-physician abortions is probably due to sampling errors.”
    And on the 5% of amature and self-induced abortions: “Lee’s interviews with women who had self-aborted found a different picture from the women who had sought professional (however illegal) abortions. These self-aborting women tended to be less rational, and more self-destructive, than the women seeking competent abortionists. Lee also found that the women attempting self-abortion were likely to have had a death wish at the time of the abortion.
    This finding is in keeping with psychiatric literature of the time, which treats self-induced abortion as a peculiar manifestation of the self-mutilating behavior common in patients with certain psychiatric disorders.
    Self-mutilation in patients with these disorders can range from superficial cuts and cigarette burns to self-trepanning (drilling holes in the skull), enoculation (gouging the eyes out), and amputation of limbs.

    Mutilation of the genitals is not rare in these patients, and self-induced abortion was often regarded as an extreme form of genital mutilation aimed at attacking the patient’s own femininity. It was in the political context, not the psychiatric or psychological context, that self-induced abortions were considered to be the expected behavior of normal women. This politicized view of self-aborting women eclipsed the reality, and case studies stopped showing up in the literature, although occasional stories still do make it into the newspaper.
    This is not to say that all women who self-induce abortions are mentally ill. Investigators of post-Roe self-induced abortion injuries and deaths found other factors, such as distrust of the medical profession, a perception of home herbal abortion as more “natural,” cultural preferences, and “ideosyncratic” factors nobody could readily explain. These women, however, carefully research abortion methods and use common sense and intelligence to select a method likely to be efficacious and comparatively safe.(source)

  13. Liz, beats me why society freaks out over families like ours… when I’m out with just the baby or maybe the baby and the two littlest girls I get, “Oh, what a sweet little family!” Everyone is all smiles. But as soon as one of the girls pipes up (as one always does) “And there’s four more of us at home!” the smiles turn to scowls, comments of “Are you crazy?” or “You’d better be done now!”
    We pay all our own bills, the kids don’t want for anything, and since we homeschool all but the oldest (and presumably one child would be an acceptable burden for society to bear) we certainly aren’t drains on society or others’ tax dollars.
    Since we garden, compost, recycle, reuse and generally speaking limit materialism in our household, we have a smaller “carbon” footprint than most much smaller families (which even with the fraudulent science being uncovered I still believe is good stewardship for the Earth that God has entrusted us with).
    Having a large family means we MUST teach our children to be well-behaved and responsible. They are not running wild through the stores or the malls, they aren’t cussing at people, throwing tantrums or otherwise misbehaving. In fact, our are the kids who will see you struggling with a heavy load and will (after checking to make sure I know where they are) politely offer to help you get it into your car.
    So yeah, denigrate large families if you must, but remember… we’re the only hope you have for Social Security! LOL
    My three boys:

  14. And once again no response from dhalgren…Dude, you know darn well that you’d better have some facts to support your rhetoric when you come here and yet you don’t and you continue to remain silent when someone else shows you the facts, yet you still insist on coming here, spouting your bull crap.

  15. Rachel C. – I wasn’t making the ‘abortions illegal will cause more back-alley and unsafe abortions’ argument. We all know (or should know) that most abortions between 1945 and 1973 were done underground by physicians (most of them right here in New York City).
    I was not implying that we would have a sharp increase in desperate women attempting abortions on themselves. I was implying that we would have a rise of corruption and a more sharp contrast between the rich and poor (we already have a sharp contrast, but look at Brazil for one of the most vivid segregations between rich and poor). We would have an underground railroad for wealthy women, who would go to Canada for abortions. And underground cash-only network for middle class women in US cities. And a severe lack of safe termination methods for women in rural areas.
    I have said it before – your side cannot have this argument both ways. Your side wants to criminalize abortion. I assume the hard-core among you want to ban abortion for any reason, arguing that it is solely an elective procedure. Fine. But then you throw-in the talking point that we pro-aborts have nothing to worry about if it is criminalized. Abortion will still be safe, since it will still be done by criminal doctors. It will actually become a more profitable practice, since it will be mainly cash-only and will be off the hospital ledger. And it will simply be a return to the way things were between 1945 and 1973. If a woman wants an abortion, she really just needs to take herself and her pocketbook to New York City. So long as it is not happening in major red states, then it’s OK with many of you. New York is a major pro-abort stronghold, so it is better to eliminate the practice where it is most exposed, and not hidden behind the walls of giant hospitals (same with Dallas, LA, Boston, etc. – where there are big hospitals, there are abortions).
    But does that not weaken your cause? If you are saying that all you want to do is go back to 1945-1973, and you acknowledge that abortions will still take place in big cities and Canada, then where is your victory?
    My opinion is that your victory is knowing that all abortion taking place in the US are illegal. In other words, you know you can’t stop doctors from performing them. You can’t stop women for wanting them. But so long as it is listed in the US code as a federal crime, you will feel better. You know your chances of going to heaven are vastly improved. No one will question why didn’t you do something to stop abortion, because in fact, you lived in a country that outlawed it. No legal abortions on US soil is your victory.
    But again, I argue that “family Planning, including abortion, is a pillar of healthcare in a civilized, industrialized society. Plain and simple.”
    We’ve had amazing technological breakthroughs since the 19th century that vastly improved the quality of life in the world’s northern hemisphere. Vaccination. Sanitation / sewage systems. Fossil fuels. Automobiles. Air travel. Refrigeration. And family planning (mainly birth control). They are all connected. People live longer. People decide how many children to have and when (and how to space them apart to give them the best chance at a prosperous future). We have more control over our lives. And we see and learn more about our world than the most powerful emperors just 250 years ago. I argue that to point a finger at birth control and claim that it is causing moral and societal decay is to attack any other valuable element of modern medicine. It is a part of the wave of advancements that allow all of us to enjoy our high-consumption, comparatively wealthy lifestyle in this hemisphere. That is what I was saying.

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