Lawmakers Won’t Say if They Signed Letter for Abortion Funding in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawmakers Won’t Say if They Signed Letter for Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — In response to passage of the Stupak amendment preventing abortion funding in the House health care bill, 40 pro-abortion lawmakers signed a letter saying they won’t vote for the final bill if the amendment remains. Now, the sponsor of the letter won’t reveal the names of those members of Congress.

On Monday, Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who leads the pro-abortion forces, gathered signatures from 40 members for the letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But, the list of signatories, according to a report in the blog The Daily Beast "remains closely guarded" as even top pro-abortion activists "are refusing to say whether they’ve signed."

The blog suggests that may be "reflecting a last-ditch willingness to accept the Stupak amendment, as a means to pushing through the president’s top domestic policy priority."

"I’m not going to prejudge an outcome,” said pro-abortion Rep. Laura DeLauro of Connecticut, a pro-abortion activist so polemic she was once the director of Emily’s List and got into a shouting match with a top lieutenant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi for allowing a vote on Stupak.

"I just want to work very hard in terms of affecting an outcome. Health reform is critical to our economy," she said in terms that make the blog appear correct. "This is an outstanding piece of legislation, it really is.”

But DeGette, in remarks Monday to the Washington Post talking about the letter, promised a "firestorm."

"Women are going to realize that a Democratic-controlled House has passed legislation that would prohibit women paying for abortions with their own funds," she falsely claimed. "We’re not going to let this into law."

She repeated that claim in an evening interview on MSNBC.

"Well, let me put it this way. That letter-the letter that we’re sending, it says that we will not vote for a conference report that extends abortion restrictions beyond current law," she said.

DeGette said she received the signatures on the letter between the Stupak vote and the vote on final passage.

"I got those 41 signatures in one hour. I put the letter out after we lost the amendment. I had collected those signatures before the final vote on the bill," she said. "So, we’re still continuing to get more signatures this week."

The pro-abortion activists said a second letter had been drafted as well to President Barack Obama asking for a meeting to figure out how abortion funding can be restored.

"We also-the pro-choice caucus sent a letter to the president today with over 80 signatures asking him to meet with us next week when we return, to talk about how we can make this happen," she told MSNBC Monday.

The letter to Pelosi reads: "The Stupak-Pitts amendment to H.R. 3962, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act, represents an unprecedented and unacceptable restriction on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health services to which they are lawfully entitled. We will not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law."

Some 41 Democrats have signed on and the letter is still circulating for more signatures.

DeGette told the Post that she believes the Stupak amendment will be removed by house Democratic leaders when the process moves to a conference committee should the Senate pass its bill.

The House cast a strongly bipartisan vote in favor of the Stupak amendment to remove the abortion funding found in the health care bill via the public option and affordability credits.

The House then voted for the bill on a narrow 220-215 vote with virtually all Republicans and dozens of Democrats still opposing the bill.

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