Hatch Expected to File Stupak Amdt to Cut Abortion Funds in Senate Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
November 30, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate resumes debate today on its version of the government-run health care bill that contains massive abortion funding. As the debate continues, pro-life advocates are still holding out hope that a Stupak-type amendment can be added to the bill to remove it.
Before the Thanksgiving recess, Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who has long been associated with efforts to stop abortion, said he would propose an amendment to strike the abortion funding from the bill.
"The sanctity of life is not an issue that can be traded away for political expediency," Hatch said recently on the Senate floor.
Before the break, Hatch joined Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Mike Johanns of Nebraska in complaining about the abortion funding in the bill Senate leader Harry Reid introduced.
The House provisions, in contrast to the terribly flawed provisions in the Reid bill, contained language that would not only safeguard the rights of the unborn but also would prevent medical providers from being coerced into performing procedures that violate their conscience, Hatch said.
The Reid language authorizes abortion in the government operated health plan (or the public option) and federal subsidies for insurance coverage that includes abortion, Hatch continued.
Hatch noted recent polls from the Washington Post, ABC News and CNN that found 61 percent of Americans do not support federal funding for abortion.
"Even more telling is two polls released this week by the Washington Post and ABC News and CNN. They confirmed that 61 percent of the American population does not support federal funding for abortion. This vote should serve as a strong signal to each member of the Senate that these protections cannot be ignored and must be contained in any measure that we adopt," Hatch said.
Stupak got his amendment added to the House version of the legislation bot Hatch likely won’t experience the same kind of success.
Most Republicans will vote for the pro-life amendment, but Hatch says he is having a hard time finding many Democrats who will join them.
"It will be much more difficult in the Senate," Hatch predicted, saying he has already started lobbying Democrats for his language. "There are so few you can really turn to."
In September, the Senate Finance Committee rejected his amendment that would have the bill conform to current federal law prohibiting direct abortion funding.
The otherwise party-line vote saw pro-abortion Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe side with Democrats against it and Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota join Republicans in supporting it.
In July, Hatch was unsuccessful in getting the Senate HELP Committee to approve another amendment to cut abortion funding.
The committee went on to approve a pro-abortion amendment from pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, by a razor-thin 12-11 margin with Republicans opposing the amendment along with Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was the only member of his party to oppose the amendment.
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