White House, Senate Leaders to Craft Next Version of Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
October 14, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — White House and Senate leaders are meeting today to craft the final Senate version of the pro-abortion health care reform bill. All of the leaders participating in the process are abortion advocates and they are combining two bills, both of which contain taxpayer funding of abortions.
With the Senate Finance Committee having signed off on the Baucus measure, the next step is to combine it and the Kennedy bill that already passed the Senate HELP committee.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is headed to Capitol Hill today to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Finance chairman Max Baucus and HELP chairman Chris Dodd.
The final product would liekyl be the first bill that pro-abrotion President Barack Obama may officially endorse. He has yet to put his name behind any of the five Congressional bills. All of them promise abortion funding, but Obama has pledged to exclude such funding in "his" plan.
Yet, Emanuel told PBS NewsHour correspondent Judy Woodruff Tuesday that Baucus’s health care reform bill meets the administration’s key goals for a health care overhaul.
"This is not the more important bill as compared to any other bill," Emanuel cautioned. "It is a bipartisan bill, achieves the objectives. That’s also true of what Sen. Dodd did in his committee. The House is now going to merge those three bills."
Should Obama sign onto any of those bills or a merged version in either chamber that includes abortion funding, he will have officially gone back on his promise to support health care reform without abortion funding.
As they work on crafting the bill, Emanuel and the Senate leaders will have to take into account the split within the Democratic Party.
Some moderate senators do not favor the public (government) option — and neither does pro-abortion Republican Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine who voted for the Baucus bill yesterday. The option would likely increase abortion even further.
On the other side, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, joins other liberal Democrats in wanting the public option included.
"When we get to the floor, we’re going to try to get that public option," he said yesterday. "The Majority Leader Harry Reid’s going to have to be Houdini. He’s going to have to cobble the votes together."
Snowe, yesterday, countered: "I can’t vote for a public option."
The Baucus health care bill does not contain the government option while the Kennedy bill does. Senators have previously said that there are not enough votes for a health care bill with the public option but the question is how far liberal lawmakers will go to insist it is included.
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.
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