Senate Committee Votes for Fifth Health Care Bill Promoting Tax-Funded Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
October 12, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 today to send the fifth version of health care reform legislation to the floor of a chamber of Congress. The Baucus bill, named for the chairman of the panel who is its main sponsor, would fund abortions with massive subsidies.
Lawmakers voted mostly along party lines with pro-abortion Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine joining the committee’s pro-abortion Democrats to pass the bill.
After rejecting pro-life amendments last week that would have ensured the Baucus health care bill does not fund abortions and to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals, pro-life groups urged opposition to the bill.
On a 13-10 vote, the Senate Finance Committee rejected an amendment from Sen. Orrin Hatch that would have the bill conform to current federal law prohibiting direct abortion funding.
The panel also rejected a second pro-life amendment that would have offered protection for medical workers who don’t want to participate in or refer for abortions. A third amendment to stop rationing also went down in defeat.
The finance panel is the last of five Congressional committees — two in the Senate and three in the House — to approve different health care bills.
Each of them, including the Kennedy measure in the Senate and the three versions of HR 3200 in the House, include massive abortion funding and mandates.
Now that the committee has approved the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have to combine the contrasting Baucus and Kennedy bills into one measure for the Senate to consider. He has called for votes on a combined bill as early as next week.
Some new reports give pro-life groups tremendous concern and they indicate it is possible that Reid will use H.R. 1586 — an unrelated tax bill passed by the House in March — as the vehicle to move the pro-abortion health care package in the Senate.
Under a special procedure, Reid would offer an amendment to remove the entire language of the House-approved bill and replace it with the final legislation combining the Kennedy and Baucus bills.
The move would require 60 votes to end debate — a chance for pro-life advocates to halt the bill unless Democrats can keep their coalition of 60 lawmakers together.
If Reid gets his 60 votes to amend the bill then the Senate debates and votes on the new bill itself. At that point, Reid could prevent any amendments from being offered — including amendments to remove the abortion funding and mandates or rationing from the bill.
He may do so because any amendment that can’t obtain 60 votes could threaten the passage of the pro-abortion health care bill itself.
The key to the strategy is that the House would be able to approve the Senate bill without allowing any amendments — including the Stupak amendment to stop abortion funding — and send it directly to President Barack Obama.
This potential strategy would shut pro-life advocates out of the process and virtually guarantee that the measure would contain abortion funding, mandates and rationing of health care for seniors and, potentially, other Americans.
However, with the support of Snowe, Reid may choose to move ahead with the combined bill in an attempt to secure enough votes without resorting to a much-maligned legislative process.
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