Senate Panel Rejects Amdt to Cut Abortion Funding From Baucus Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
September 30, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Senate committee today voted against a critical amendment that would remove the massive abortion subsidies present in the Baucus health care bill. On a 13-10 vote, the Senate Finance Committee rejected amendments from Sen. Orrin Hatch that would have the bill conform to current federal law prohibiting direct abortion funding.
Hatch amendment 355 would make it so the Baucus bill "prohibits authorized or appropriated federal funds under this Mark from being used for elective abortions and plans that cover such abortions."
The otherwise party-line vote saw pro-abortion Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe side with Democrats against it and Sen. Kent Conrad of Noth Dakota join Republicans in supporting it.
"All I’m asking — my gosh — is for specific language in the bill that prohibits federal dollars from being used to fund abortions," Hatch said.
Pro-abortion Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan described Hatch’s amendment to prohibit abortion funding as "insulting" to women.
During the debate, Sen. Max Baucus, the author of the health care bill the panel has under consideration, claimed his measure follows the federal Hyde amendment that has prohibited virtually all direct federal abortion funding since the 1970s.
"The mark makes it clear that no federal funds will be used for abortion. None. None. It’s very clear," he said.
However, the Baucus bill opens the door to massive abortion funding.
According to National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson, "The bill contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion."
"In addition, the Baucus bill requires that a specific charge must be included in the premiums paid by those who enroll in such subsidized plans, of at least ‘$1 per enrollee, per month,’ which amounts to a surcharge specifically for elective abortions," he said.
"The Baucus bill provides $6 billion in federal funds for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives, without any limitation on the use of these funds to pay for abortions or to subsidize plans that pay for elective abortions," he continued.
To fix these problems, pro-life senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Mike Enzi of Wyoming had proposed a handful of amendments. They address abortion funding, state laws and the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals who do not want to be forced to perform or refer for abortions.
Meanwhile, pro-life groups are also supporting amendments to fix the rationing components found in the Baucus health care "reform" measure.
ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and express your disappointment that the Hatch amendments were defeated. You can find members of the panel here. https://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.NRLC.org
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