Key Pro-Life Democrat Finally Get Mtg With Nancy Pelosi on Abortion, Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Key Pro-Life Democrat Finally Get Mtg With Nancy Pelosi on Abortion, Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — After months of no response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pro-life Democrats scored a meeting today with the pro-abortion leader. They have written two letters to Pelosi asking for a chance to have a vote on banning abortion funding in the health care bills and they finally got their chance today.

Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat from Michigan, has led efforts to remove the massive abortion subsidies and mandates from HR 3200.

He has been unable to get a commitment from Pelosi to allow a vote on his amendment on the House floor that, with the support of pro-life groups, would remove abortion funding.

Stupak told the New York Times today that he finally got a call back from President Barack Obama after waiting for weeks for a meeting.

“He said: ‘Look, try to get this thing worked out among the Democrats. We want you to work it out within the party,’" Stupak said.

Obama, who has given what pro-life organizations call a disingenuous pledge that abortion funding will not appear in a health care reform bill he signs, did not pledge to support Stupak’s amendment, he told the newspaper, but he saw the silver lining.

"We got his attention, which we never had before," he said.

The call has prompted Pelosi to give Stupak a chance to make his case today.

According to the Times, her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, said in a statement, “As we have throughout the process, we are meeting with our members to listen to their concerns, consulting with the administration, and making progress.”

Stupak, last week, said he wasn’t sure whether Pelosi and pro-abortion House Democratic leaders would allow a vote on his amendment.

"I spoke to President Obama last week," he said. "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."

With a House 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 said.

Stupak has repeatedly said he has as many as 40 Democrats who are prepared to vote against the government-run health care restructuring bill on the floor if it is not changed to remove the abortion funding components.

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