Senator: Pro-Life Side Lacks Votes to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 17, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator: Pro-Life Side Lacks Votes to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 17
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A pro-abortion lawmaker says the pro-life side in the Senate does not have enough votes to add a Stupak-type amendment to the Senate government-run health care bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s comments follow a similar analysis and make it appear pro-life groups will need to oppose the bill.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said pro-abortion senators have no concerns that pro-life advocates will be able to attach an amendment stopping abortion funding.

"I don’t think that it’s a threat at all," Brown said on MSNBC. "There aren’t more than four or five Democratic senators that I would say are anti-choice. There are at least, I think, two Republican senators who are pro-choice."

"Then the Republicans will try to amend it into the bill, and they will be unsuccessful; they won’t even get close to 50 votes," he predicted.

To successfully amend the bill, pro-life advocates will need 60 votes instead of the normal majority — which makes what would be a tough challenge nearly impossible.

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson told the Senate process makes it so 60 votes are needed for a Stupak-type amendment.

"If [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] gets over that hurdle [the motion to proceed], then any senator who wants to amend the bill on the Senate floor will also face a 60-vote threshold. Amendments can be killed — ‘tabled’ — by a simple majority, but it will take 60 votes to adopt any controversial amendment on the floor," he explained.

"Once Reid has won approval of the Motion to Proceed on this bill, it will be too late to add it," Johnson says.

That virtually guarantees massive abortion funding will be in the Senate version of the health care bill unless Reid introduces the bill with the Stupak amendment attached (and if it survives an expected amendment from abortion advocates to remove it).

In his MSNBC appearance, Brown also predicted that the final health care bill Reid unveils will not contain the Stupak amendment or similar language banning abortion funding under the bill.

"Harry Reid’s not going to put the Stupak language in the bill, I’d be certain," Brown said.

The Senate votes on the bill and abortion funding are not the end of the health care debate and Brown also talked about future battles.

With a House bill with the Stupak language and a Senate measure without it, the bills will go to a conference committee, where President Barack Obama has already promised to work with abortion advocates to remove or weaken the Stupak ban.

Brown said if that does not happen, pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado has told him that she has 41 votes necessary to kill the conference committee’s final bill in the House.

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