Senate Defeats Nelson Amendment to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Defeats Nelson Amendment to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate on Tuesday voted 54-45 to defeat the Nelson amendment that would have removed the massive abortion funding from the Senate government-run health care bill. With the defeat, pro-life advocates will unite behind a concerted effort to defeat the entire health care bill.

The legislation currently allows abortion funding under both the public option and the affordability credits to purchase health care insurance.

The bill contains a slightly-reworded version of the much-maligned Capps amendment, which a House committee approved on a partisan vote and which pro-life groups say is an accounting scheme to hide government-funded abortions.

The Nelson amendment, sponsored by Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, Democrat Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, would have restored the Hyde amendment principles to the bill to ensure that abortions can’t be funded.

Contrary to the claims of abortion advocates during the debate, women would still be able to pay for abortions with their own money and purchase health care insurance to cover their abortions.

Nelson was unable to get enough Democrats to join him in supporting the amendment while two Republicans, pro-abortion Maine Sens. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, sided with abortion advocates against the amendment.

Sen. Barbara Boxer moved to table (kill) the Nelson amendment and she was joined by most Democrats and opposed by most Republicans.

Democrats who voted no and opposed Boxer’s motion to kill the Nelson amendment included Sens. Casey, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Edward Kaufman of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana.

With the Nelson amendment defeated, attention now turns to the vote on the bill itself, and Nelson (but not Casey) has said he would filibuster the bill because of the abortion funding it contains.

However, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a pro-abortion Illinois Democrat, told Congressional Quarterly today he’s not concerned about losing Nelson. He said he stands to lose votes on the bill from pro-abortion lawmakers had the amendment been approved.

“This is a zero sum situation. We could gain one senator and lose several others,” Durbin said.

If Nelson filibusters the pro-abortion health care bill, Democrats will need Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Olympia Snowe to support the bill and not lose any other Democrats who are considered possible defections.

"I know that there is a genuine outreach effort to Senator Snowe and others on the Republican side," Durbin said about that.

Other issues apart from direct abortion funding are causing pro-life advocates to oppose the health care legislation.

The Senate has also added the Mikulski amendment to the bill that could open the door to forcing every health insurance plan in the country to cover abortions.

Senate Vote on Motion to Table (Kill) Nelson Amendment
Yes=Pro-Aborton, No=Pro-Life

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay Alaska: Begich (D-AK), Yea Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay McCain (R-AZ), Nay Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Nay California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea Colorado: Bennet (D-CO), Yea Udall (D-CO), Yea Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea Delaware: Carper (D-DE), Yea Kaufman (D-DE), Nay Florida: LeMieux (R-FL), Nay Nelson (D-FL), Yea Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Nay Risch (R-ID), Nay Illinois: Burris (D-IL), Yea Durbin (D-IL), Yea Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Nay Lugar (R-IN), Nay Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Yea Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea Massachusetts: Kerry (D-MA), Yea Kirk (D-MA), Yea Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea Minnesota: Franken (D-MN), Yea Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Wicker (R-MS), Nay Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Yea Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Tester (D-MT), Yea Nebraska: Johanns (R-NE), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Nay Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Nay Shaheen (D-NH), Yea New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Udall (D-NM), Yea New York: Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Hagan (D-NC), Yea North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Nay Dorgan (D-ND), Nay Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Nay Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Yea Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Nay Specter (D-PA), Yea Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Yea Virginia: Warner (D-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Yea Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Not Voting Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay

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