I was surprised to get an email from an anti-abortion group celebrating the inclusion of a provision that bans abortion in school-based health clinics. To begin with, I had not heard of this part of the bill, but then I assumed that the number of school-based health clinics performing abortions was zero. So it was a symbolic gesture, a bone to the zealots.


Happily, Valerie Strauss pursued this issue, and this is what she found. The language was inserted at the last minute, and it doesn’t mention the word “abortion.” It refers to a section in the Health Service Act that bans the use of public funds for abortions in school-based health clinics. The provision restates what is already law.


The difficulty with a bill that is over 1,000 pages is that it is akin to a Christmas tree, loaded with member items that were quietly tucked in, not always bad, like funding for libraries, after school programs.