Nelson, Bipartisan Lawmakers File Amendment to Stop Abortion Funding, Mandates

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nelson, Bipartisan Lawmakers File Amendment to Stop Abortion Funding, Mandates

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 7
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Senator Ben Nelson and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have officially filed the amendment to the Senate’s government-run health care bill to remove the abortion funding from it. The Nelson amendment would also limit the effect of the Milulski amendment that could allow insurance mandates for abortion.

Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, are leading the amendment effort.

A bipartisan group of senators have joined them by adding their names to the amendment, including Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, and Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Thune of South Dakota, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Vitter of Louisiana, and Mike Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

“As written, the Senate health care bill allows taxpayer dollars, directly and indirectly, to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion. Most Nebraskans, and Americans, do not favor using public funds to cover abortion and as a result this bill shouldn’t open the door to do so,” said Senator Nelson.

The Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment would prevent abortion funding under the new government-run public option plan.

"The Secretary may not provide coverage of abortion services in the community health insurance option established under Section 1323, [except as under the Hyde amendment]," the amendment reads.

The amendment also covers the affordability credits — taxpayer funds that could be used to pay for health insurance that would pay for abortions.

"No funds authorized or appropriated under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion," the amendment continues.

The Nelson amendment also provides conscience protection for the majority of health care insurance plans that to do not currently cover elective abortions that may want to participate in the public option exchange.

"No Exchange participating health care benefits plan may discriminate against any individual health care provider or health care facility because of its unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions," the amendment reads.

Under the amendment, women who want abortions will not be able to get government funding of them and must purchase, with their own money, riders to the government-run or government-funded insurance plans to pay for abortions.

Senate leader Harry Reid said over the weekend that the Senate would vote on the Nelson-Hatch amendment today, but it appears the Senate will allow time for debate on the amendment but officially cast the vote on Tuesday.

“The amendment we offer today mirrors the Stupak language added to the House health care bill,” Nelson said in a statement received.

He added: “For more than 30 years, taxpayers’ money hasn’t been used for abortions, a standard that has the broad support of the American people. This rule now applies to federal health programs covering veterans, federal employees, Native Americans, active duty service members and others, and should extend to those covered by any new health care bill.”

Responding to the filing of the amendment, pro-life attorney Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, told that abortion funding needs to be zapped entirely.

"It is a moral imperative to protect human life. As a society treats the most vulnerable among us in the womb, it will similarly treat the aged and the ill. Any healthcare policy or proposal must protect those with debilitating or terminal illness and the elderly," he said.

"The 2,074-page Senate bill funds abortions, mandates coverage even for those who do not want it," he added. "Any healthcare bill that funds abortion is dead on arrival. If those promoting government-directed healthcare truly cared about the uninsured, they would begin by protecting the most vulnerable among us – preborn children.

Related wb sites:
Text of the amendment

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