House Democrats Likely Won’t Allow Vote to Cut Abortion From Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
October 23, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — It appears House Democrats will likely not allow a vote on an amendment that would strip abortion funding from HR 3200, the legislation that will meld the three health care "reform" bills into one. Although a coalition of pro-life Democrats is hoping for a vote, it appears none is forthcoming.
Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat from Michigan, has been leading the way in an attempt to get an amendment that would remove the massive abortion funding and subsidies from the bill.
However, in a new report issued today, the Associated Press makes it appear that’s not going to happen.
"Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won’t let Stupak offer it," AP indicates.
Stupak told AP that he sees an impasse with one of the top pro-abortion Democrats who chairs one of the committees that approved a version of the bill, Rep. Henry Waxman — who also said there is a hangup.
"We have a difference of opinion at the moment we cannot bridge," Waxman told AP after talking on the House floor Thursday with Stupak. "We have done everything we can to ensure that there will be no federal funds for abortion services."
However, abortion funding is still in the bill and, because it is, Stupak has said he will urge pro-life Democrats and Republicans to vote against the rules for debate on the health care bill.
That is something the new AP report acknowledges is likely to happen, saying it appears pro-abortion Democratic leaders "may have to take the risk of letting Stupak try to block action on the underlying bill, which he intends to do by assembling ‘no’ votes on a procedural measure that needs to pass before debate can begin."
Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee, who has been following the legislative process in the House as closely as anyone, tells LifeNews.com he doesn’t expect Stupak will get a vote on his amendment.
"It is perfectly clear that Speaker Pelosi will seek to impose a ‘rule’ that protects the pro-abortion language in the bill, and that prevents any vote on a genuine pro-life amendment," he told LifeNews.com. "That is what she will do."
"Every member of the House needs to hear this clear message: A vote to bring this bill to the House floor under a closed rule is a vote for direct government funding of abortion, through the public plan, and also a vote for tax-based subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand," he explaind.
Because no vote is likely, NRLC has already sent a letter to members of the House saying it will oppose the rule and the bill if no amendment is added to revoke abortion funding.
Should the House Rules Committee and House Democratic leaders follow through on this and not allow a vote, it will be the second time pro-life advocates have been denied a vote on an amendment to stop taxpayer-financed abortions.
In June, they prevented a vote on an amendment from Rep. Chris Smith to limit President Barack Obama’s international abortion agenda.
In August, pro-abortion Rep. Louise Slaughter, who chairs the House Rules Committee, said there would not likely be an allowance for the Stupak amendment on the floor.
A House panel defeated Stupak’s first attempt to limit abortion funding.
ACTION: Contact Rep. Louise Slaughter and members of the House rules Committee and ask them to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to stop abortion funding in health care. Email Slaughter here and go to this link to find a list of the members of the committee. You can also call any member of Congress at 202-224-3121.
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