Senate Defeats Amendment to Support Volunteerism at Crisis Pregnancy Centers

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Defeats Amendment to Support Volunteerism at Crisis Pregnancy Centers

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 26
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate on Wednesday defeated an amendment to legislation to encourage volunteerism that would have made sure pregnancy centers are included. The amendment sponsor, Senator John Ensign, said he was worried the Obama administration might leave them out of the bill.

Ensign, a pro-life member from Nevada, sponsored an amendment to the bill covering the Nonprofit Capacity Building program.

The bill is designed to encourage volunteerism and civic participation and other senators had put forward an amendment to pay legal fees for volunteer organizations.

Although the bill doesn’t exclude any organizations, "I wish to make sure that several of these organizations or types of organizations are able to be included and eligible for some of those legal fees," Ensign said on the Senate floor.

"In my amendment, it points out things such as crisis pregnancy centers, battered women shelters, rape crisis centers, various organizations that are specifically geared toward helping women," he said.

"I wished to make sure that somewhere down the line somebody at an administrative level doesn’t exclude somebody because they have a different political philosophy. We want to make sure the people in these organizations are included," Ensign added.

During the debate, pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Mikulski opposed the amendment calling it unnecessary and saying she doubted the role pregnancy centers play in helping women.

The Senate eventually defeated the amendment to help women on a 56-41 vote with the pro-life members of the Senate generally voting to help the women’s groups and abortion advocates voting against them.

Though the amendment also included helping battered women shelters, rape crisis centers, and other groups that help women, the pro-abortion group NARAL cheered its defeat.

NARAL president Nancy Keenan claimed the amendment would have turned the volunteerism bill "into a vehicle for anti-choice propaganda."

She claimed volunteers at pregnancy centers "often deprive women of the information necessary to make an informed decision about their health-care options" though she provided no concrete proof or examples of centers doing so.

ACTION: See how your senators voted on a motion to table the Ensign amendment by going here. A "Nay" vote is a pro-life vote against tabling the amendment and allowing a vote on it.

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