House Democrats Will Likely Prevent Vote to Remove Abortion From Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
August 14, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When members of Congress return from their August recess, the first battle over the abortion funding found in the health care bills will occur in the House. There, it appears Democratic leaders will prevent a vote on an amendment to remove the abortion funding from the bill.
The House version of the health care bill, HR 3200, currently allows a scheme whereby the federal government will pay for abortions under the plan.
Rep. Bart Stupak has announced that he will sponsor an amendment on the House floor to change that, similar to the one members of a House panel defeated.
But, House members may never have a chance to vote on the Stupak amendment to stop taxpayer-financed abortions because it appears House Democrats won’t allow it.
In an interview this week, pro-abortion Rep. Louise Slaughter, who chairs the House Rules Committee, said there won’t be many changes to the three versions of the bill that the House panels each approved.
"I don’t foresee a lot of changes from what came out of committee," Slaughter said at a press conference.
Leading pro-life advocates expect the Rules Committee to adopt rules for debate that prevent Stupak’s amendment from getting a vote.
As Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, explains to LifeNews.com, that could open the floodgates for pro-life and moderate Democrats to join Republicans in voting against the rules for debate.
If the rule is defeated, chaos could ensue as House Democrats would be unable to bring up the health care bill for a debate and vote and may have to go back to committee to include the abortion funding revocation pro-life advocates want.
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rules Committee Chair Slaughter, Congressman Henry Waxman, and the other top pro-abortion Democrats have embedded language in H.R. 3200 — the Capps Amendment — that would explicitly authorize the big new government insurance plan to pay for abortion on demand, and that would authorize big new federal subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortion," he explains.
"Slaughter now announces that the ‘rule’ that her committee will craft will not even allow the House vote on the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment, the amendment that would keep abortion out of these big new federal programs," he said.
"Congressman Stupak has already announced that if the rule does not permit his amendment, he will lead other pro-life Democrats in voting against the rule — which is the procedural bridge that the bill must pass to reach the House floor," Johnson added.
Johnson told LifeNews.com that pro-life groups will score votes on the rule for debate if it disallows the Stupak amendment because it would essentially cement abortion funding in the bill.
"Any House member who votes for the rule is, in effect, voting in favor of establishing a giant federal health plan that will pay abortionists with checks drawn on a federal government account," Johnson concluded.
Slaughter said members of the House staff have already begun working on melding the three committee bills together into the one piece of legislation members will consider when they return on September 8.
ACTION: Contact Rep. Louise Slaughter and members of the House rules Committee and ask them to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to stop abortion funding in health care. Email Slaughter here and go to this link to find a list of the members of the committee. You can also call any member of Congress at 202-224-3121.
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