House Passes Stupak Amendment to Remove Abortion Funding From Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Passes Stupak Amendment to Remove Abortion Funding From Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The House approved an amendment Saturday night to the government-run health care reform bill that would strip abortion funding from it. An amendment from pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak received a 240 to 194 vote with one member voting present.

Under HR 3962, the current health care bill funds abortions in two ways — through the public option and through the affordability credits given to consumers to purchase health care.

A combination of 176 Republicans joined with 64 Democrats to support the pro-life Stupak amendment while 194 Democrats voted against the measure and one Republican, pro-life Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona, voted present.

Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, told his colleagues that his amendment would operate a similar manner to many other provisions like the Hyde amendment that currently stop abortion funding but would not apply to HR 3962.

"We’re asking members to maintain current law and oppose federal funding on abortion," he said.

Stupak also assured members that he did not trade a vote for the health care bill in exchange for a vote on his amendment.

Leading abortion advocates against the amendment, Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana Degette claimed the amendment would be so overreaching that women would not be able to have private health insurance plans that pay for abortions.

She also claimed that the Capps amendment made it so no federal funds would be used for abortions, even though pro-life groups and several media outlets and nonpartisan fact-checking agencies have said that is not the case.

DeGette also claimed abortion funding is comparable to funding cancer treatment, which has drawn guffaws from pro-life advocates.

Rep. Joe Pitts, a pro-life Pennsylvania Republican, joined his Democratic colleague to urge support for the Stupak amendment and said that polling data consistently shows a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

"Stand with the majority of the American people to oppose establishing a federal program that funds abortion on demand, keep the government out of the abortion business," he said.

Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who heads the pro-life caucus in the House, related how a former Planned Parenthood director resigned after watching an ultrasound of an abortion.

"Abortion not only kills children, it harms women physically and psychologically and risks significant subsequent harm for future children," he noted. "If we truly want to see fewer abortions and want to reduce them, then don’t fund it."

"Millions of people are alive today because of the Hyde amendment," he explained.

Speaking in favor of the Stupak amendment were Democratic Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Republican Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana, Cathy Rodgers of Washington, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Louis Gohmert of Texas, and Fortenberry of Nebraska.

Democratic lawmakers arguing in favor of abortion funding included Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Lois Capps of California, Nita Lowey of New York, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Mike Quickley of Illinois, Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Louise Slaughter and Maloney of New York.

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