Bob Casey Will Likely Back Senate Health Care Bill Despite Abortion Funding

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bob Casey Will Likely Back Senate Health Care Bill Despite Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 15
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, who claims to be one of two pro-life Democrats in the Senate, made it appear today that he will likely vote for the Senate’s government-run health care bill. He would do so despite the massive abortion funding found in the bill that could result in tax-funding of hundreds of thousands of abortions.

Casey voted for the Nelson amendment to remove the abortion funding, but said today after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats that the process needs to move forward.

Casey did not directly say he would vote for the bill, but his comments were the most forward-looking yet in terms of him giving an indication of how he will vote.

Casey told The Hill that, during the meeting with Obama, Senate Democrats appeared to agree on the notion that "we have to get it done."

He said the caucus agreed that "we’ve got to act" and "move as quickly as we can in a matter of days" to pass a bill, he told reporters after the meeting.

"There were a number of people, several people, who I won’t name to protect their identities, who said, ‘I don’t like this about this bill… but we need the vote and I’m going to support it,’" Casey said.

"That kind of sentiment is important, and sometimes people don’t get to that until you’re at the end of the process," he added.

Casey said the debate over abortion funding never came up, but it did at his Senate office this afternoon.

National and state pro-life advocates from Pennsylvania joined together for a "pray-in" at Casey’s office.

Mike McMonagle, who led several dozen people in a prayer vigil, told USA Today that the group met with Casey’s staff but made little progress.

"We didn’t agree on much," he said, "but at least they listened."

After the event, Casey’s office released a statement that provided no indication of how he would vote or whether he would push anew for cutting abortion funding.

"Senator Casey has been an outspoken advocate for passing health insurance reform to provide quality coverage for tens of millions of Americans by increasing access to care and providing more security and stability for Americans worried about paying health care bills or losing coverage if they lose their job," the statement read.

"He also believes that this bill presents a unique opportunity to provide new and critical support for pregnant women. Too many women face pregnancy frightened and alone. No woman should have to walk that road alone," the statement read.

The remarks also mentioned possible amendments from Casey to provide help for pregnant women.

"That is why he has introduced two amendments to help ensure that pregnant women have additional support and assistance to properly care for herself and her child. He believes there is bipartisan agreement for providing this kind of affirmative assistance to pregnant women," the statement read.

More to the point of his vote on the bill itself, McMonagle and the activists that met at Casey’s office plan a series of public events around the state of Pennsylvania over the next two weeks to encourage Senator Casey to embrace human rights and refrain from voting for cloture on the Senate health care legislation.

"The pro-life community wants to make it clear to Senator Casey and Senator Nelson that a vote for cloture is a vote for abortion. Since the United States Senate has enough votes to pass health care reform in its final version, a cloture vote is a final vote. It is a vote to support the bill," Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, told today.

"Even if Senator Casey … vote[s] against the bill in its final passage, they cannot make the claim that they are pro-life or they are interested in protecting the rights of America’s children," he said of the filibuster vote.

Mahoney said it is "hard to imagine" that Casey would "sponsor an amendment prohibiting public money from being use to pay for abortions and then turn around and vote for cloture which guarantees that the health care bill would include taxpayer funded abortions."

"Our message is clear and unambiguous. You cannot vote for cloture and consider yourself pro-life," he said.

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