Democrats May Take Health Care Bill to Floor, Deny Vote on Pro-Life Amendments
by Steven Ertelt
July 24, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Frustrated that pro-life Democrats are joining their Republican colleagues in objecting to a version of the House health care restructuring bill that would promote abortion funding and coverage, a pro-abortion committee chairman is threatening to deny votes on pro-life amendments to the bill.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, a pro-abortion Democrat from California, is upset that pro-life Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak has threatened to derail passage of the bill.
Stupak made it clear this week that he and 39 colleagues are ready to stop the bill in committee or on the House floor if amendments are not added to make it abortion neutral.
Frustrated that Stupak and his colleagues are blocking the bill and tired that negotiations are taking so long, Waxman said Friday he may bypass a committee vote and take it to the full House floor. There, two other pro-abortion health care restructuring bills are awaiting a debate and vote.
"We’re going to have to look at perhaps bypassing the (Energy and Commerce) committee because we’ve got to get moving on this legislation," said Waxman. "I hope we don’t come to that conclusion."
Waxman said he is runnint out of patience with the pro-life Democrats.
"We’re not going to let them empower the Republicans to control the committee," he said. "This this can’t be an interminable discussion."
That conclusion would deny pro-life advocates any chance of a vote on several amendments to make sure the bill does not fund abortions with taxpayer dollars, make insurance companies cover abortions, overturn state laws limiting abortions or violate the conscience rights of medical professions who don’t want to engage in abortions.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for National Right to Life, talked with LifeNews.com about the latest developments in the debate.
He said the pro-life movement has to work overtime to oppose the health care bill, which he has called the biggest government expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.
"Every pro-life citizen should forcefully communicate to his or her representative in the U.S. House that the lawmaker must vote to block the movement of the Obama health bill, until and unless it is amended to explicitly exclude abortion from all coverage and access mandates, and also to prohibit federal subsidies to any plan that covers abortions," Johnson said.
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