Pro-Life Leader Worries House Won’t Allow Vote to Ban Abortion in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Leader Worries House Won’t Allow Vote to Ban Abortion in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The attention on the debate over abortion funding in health care has been on the Senate side as members of the Finance Committee debate the new Baucus bill. Yet, a pro-life Democratic congressman who has been heading up efforts in the House says the battles there are still raging.

In a new interview with the National Catholic register, pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan says there has been some progress but amendments are still needed to stop massive abortion subsidies and mandates.

Stupak recently said he had been unable to get a meeting with President Barack Obama but appears to have finally been given a chance to speak to him over the phone.

"I spoke to President Obama last week," he said of the latest developments.

"Since we’ve been back this week, I’ve spoken with the House leadership and those who support abortion in the public option. They all want to talk now. We do see some movement, but there has been no change in the language," Stupak added.

With the House Appropriations Committee defeating his amendment to stop abortion funding, the next step is to get the House Rules Committee to authorize a vote for his amendment on the floor.

But Stupak sounds pessimistic on the possibility.

"We still have to go to the House Rules Committee. There we will ask that the Hyde Amendment be put into the health-care bill. Since none of the right-to-life amendments have been allowed, I don’t have much hope this will happen," he told NCR.

Stupak explains the need to get a vote on the House floor to amend HR 3200 to make sure abortion funding is removed. Otherwise, pro-abortion funding language will become federal law for two years or longer.

"The Hyde Amendment has stayed in, but if we pass health-care legislation, that will not be part of an annual appropriations bill, and there will be no opportunity to vote again next year. It will be public policy. There will be no room for a Hyde," he told the Catholic newspaper.

"If it becomes law, H.R. 3200 will be the health policy for the United States. The policy regarding public funding for abortion will no longer be found in annual appropriations bills, but in H.R. 3200," he continued. "That means public funding for abortion will be allowed — and under public options: At least one dollar of your money will go to supplement reproductive rights or abortion services."

Stupak also responded to the comments Obama made in his health care speech that he doesn’t want abortion funding.

"When the president spoke to the nation on health care, he said that in ‘my legislation’ there will be no public funding of abortions. The problem is the president hasn’t submitted a plan," he said.

Stupak says it is up to Obama to determine if abortion funding is included in the three bills currently pending in Congress.

"The way the health-care legislative process has been developed, neither the Senate nor the House bill will go anywhere without the approval of the president. He will insert his demands into the process," he said. "The final bill is really the bill we have to worry about."

"When I talked to the president the other day on this issue, he assured me that when he spoke to the American people he was expressing his plan that there will be no abortion funding — if Congress cannot resolve it before it reaches him," Stupak said. "What the president wants me to do is to continue to work with his legislative team. The Democrats in the House should work this out, so he’s not making a final decision."

"We’re early in the process, but we’re keeping the pressure on to make sure there is no public funding and an abortion mandate," Stupak told the newspaper.

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