House Democrats: We Have Almost Enough Votes for Pro-Abortion Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Democrats: We Have Almost Enough Votes for Pro-Abortion Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 21
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — House Democrats said today that they have almost enough votes to get a pro-abortion health care bill through the chamber. The votes they say they have collected include almost enough for the government option, which would expand abortion funding even further.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked her top lieutenants this week to conduct a vote count to determine where members of the party stand on HR 3200, which pro-life groups oppose.

Three House committee have approved different versions of the bill, all of which include massive abortion funding and mandates, that Pelosi and top Democrats will meld into one measure.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairman Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, said today that House Democrats have secured about 210 votes for a bill with the controversial public option.

That’s just eight votes short of the 218 needed to approve the pro-abortion bill.

Grijalva told the pro-abortion Huffington Post web site that 25 of the chamber’s 256 Democrats say they will refuse to vote for the bill if the public option is included and that 18 or 19 Democrats will vote against the bill no matter how the measure is combined.

Another top Democrat also indicated the votes are close.

“We’re right around 218 for a robust public option,” Democratic Caucus Chairman John B. Larson of Connecticut said early Wednesday afternoon “It could go higher. I feel pretty good.”

"We are very close and I count tough," Pelosi told Democrats on Tuesday during a meeting, according to a Politico report.

She told colleagues that she has 200 certain votes and wanted to "see if we can find the remaining votes," to pass a bill with the public option.

Should the House approve a pro-abortion health care bill with a public option, that would put it in conflict with the Senate, where lawmakers say they don’t expect a public option bill to pass.

The process may wind up with a House version that includes the public option and a Senate version that does not — which sets up a contentious conference committee meeting where top House and Senate negotiators have to work out the differences in a way where both chambers can sign off on the compromise bill.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bart Stupak, the top pro-life Democrat in the House is still hoping to hold together a coalition of pro-life and moderate Democrats who plan to vote against the bill if they do not get a chance to vote on Stupak’s amendment to ensure abortion funding is removed from the legislation.
The bills already allow abortion funding but the government option would exacerbate the situation.

When it comes to the public option, HR 3200 in the House would kick it off with $2 billion in start-up funds from the Treasury and, as amended, the bill "explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the public plan, from day one," says Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life.

"So, once the Secretary of HHS has ordered that all abortions be covered under the ‘public option,’ what would that mean? It would mean that you would not be allowed to enroll in the new government plan unless you were willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions — in effect, an abortion surcharge," he explains.

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