Next Abortion-Health Care Battle Could Begin on Baucus Senate Bill September 21

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

Next Abortion-Health Care Battle Could Begin on Baucus Senate Bill September 21

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 9
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — After President Barack Obama delivers his health care speech to Congress tonight, the next battle over health care "reform" and abortion funding could take place in two weeks. That’s when a Senate committee is slated to debate an alternative bill Senator Max Baucus has proposed.

The Baucus bill, which is already drawing fire for its fines for Americans who do not have health insurances, comes form a Montana Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee.

Baucus has been heading up a six-member gorup of bipartisan lawmakers who have been attempting to fashion a bill outside the Kennedy bill and HR 3200 that could actually get enough support to make headway.

The pro-abortion senator released an 18-page overview of his bill, which has not yet earned the backing of the "gang" of legislators. The measure does not include a government-run “public option” insurance plan and instead relies on state-run, consumer-owned cooperatives to set up an alternative to private-sector insurance in a health care exchange, or marketplace.

Critics say the exchange will run in a similar fashion as the public option.

A analysis of the overview finds no mention of abortion or the code phrase "reproductive health."

As one pro-life advocate familiar with the situation told this afternoon, removal of the public option does not satisfy the concerns over abortion funding in health care.

Unless the Baucus measure has specific language making sure that abortions are not funded with federal taxpayer dollars, pro-life groups are expected to oppose it.

The text of the Baucus bill is expected to be released next week and pro-life groups will likely make a public analysis that says the bill needs pro-life amendments to stop abortion funding.

Then, the Senate Finance Committee will debate the bill and consider changes and amendments to it the week of September 21. When it does, pro-life advocates will likely be urged to contact members of the panel to request support for the handful of pro-life amendments needed to solve the funding and other abortion issues.

However, the committee is dominated 14-8 by abortion advocates with all of the Democrats on the panel and one Republican, Maine Sen. Olympia Snow, backing abortion.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the House Education and Labor Committee; and the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee all defeated the pro-life amendments to prevent government funding for abortion and government-required coverage of abortion.

ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support amendments to make sure abortion funding and coverage are specifically excluded from the Baucus bill. You can find members of the panel here.

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