Lawmaker, Women’s Group Challenges Pro-Life Democrats on Senate Health Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawmaker, Women’s Group Challenges Pro-Life Democrats on Senate Health Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 19
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — With just 40 votes in the Senate with which to stop the pro-abortion health care reform bill Harry Reid unveiled yesterday, Republicans need at least one vote from Democrats to stop the introduction of the bill on a Motion to Proceed vote that will take place on Friday or, more likely, Saturday.

Sen. Mike Johanns took to the floor for the Senate this morning with a challenge for the pro-life and more moderate Democrats in the chamber.

His comments appeared to be directed to Sen. Ben Nelson, a pro-life Democratic lawmaker and his Nebraska colleague.

"We don’t need 40 Democrats to stand up for what’s right. We need just one," Johanns said. "If just one pro-life Democrat would say I will not vote to move this bill until it’s fixed, until it’s truly pro-life, that would happen. So those who say they are pro-life but refuse to take that stand, I worry are not standing up for life. "

"I ask for a pro-life senator to come down here and stand up on this bill. Pro-life Americans are waiting, and they aren’t fooled," he said.

Although Nelson will likely support an amendment to remove the abortion funding, his comments late Wednesday make it appear he will support the motion to proceed.

"There’s no opportunity to amend (if) you oppose the motion to proceed," he said.

Nelson also disputed that such a vote would stop the pro-abortion health care bill.

"If the three of us voted against the cloture motion," Nelson said, "we don’t stop health care reform." He said reconciliation could be used then, too.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group issued the same challenge to Nelson and other Democrats considered most likely to help stop the bill over abortion and other reasons.

"Until the pro-life Stupak language is added to the Senate health care bill, the measure must be opposed," she told this morning. "Senators Casey, Landrieu, Lincoln, and Nelson must recognize that a vote for cloture is a complete betrayal of their pro-life constituents."

"There is no middle ground, either you fund abortion or you don’t," she said.

Reid is expected to file for cloture on the motion to proceed today, with a vote expected on Saturday night and pro-life advocates are working overtime to gather no votes.

To ensure the bill does not fund abortions, Sen. Orrin Hatch has said he will propose an amendment, although it will likely not have enough votes to pass.

The head of the national organization for pro-life Democrats told yesterday that she has every confidence Nelson and Casey will back the amendment.

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