After Senate, Lawmakers Will Have to Decide Between Abortion and Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 22, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

After Senate, Lawmakers Will Have to Decide Between Abortion and Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 22
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate is expected to approve its pro-abortion health care bill this week and conclude round two of the match between pro-life advocates and lawmakers who favor funding abortions. When the bill moves to a conference committee following the Senate vote, abortion advocates will have to make tough decisions.

The conference committee will include members of the House and Senate and they will have to resolve the very different abortion funding language in the bills.

On the House side, lawmakers approved the Stupak amendment that bans abortion funding while the Senate language — the fake Reid-Nelson "compromise" — allows government funding of abortions and possible abortion coverage mandates for insurance companies.

With Rep. Bart Stupak promising to vote against the bill, along with his pro-life colleagues who voted for the House version, if the conference committee removes his abortion funding ban, abortion advocates have a tough decision to make.

Will they remove the abortion funding from the Senate bill and send back to both chambers legislation that contains the abortion ban in order to get a health care bill approved?

Or will they rely on the Senate language (or some other "compromise" that Stupak, pro-life lawmakers and pro-life groups will undoubtedly oppose) and take their chances that a pro-abortion health care bill will receive House approval?

In comments today to Fox News, Stupak, a Michigan congress, again said he will not bend on abortion.

"They know that the 64 Democrats who voted with the Republicans on my amendment, we feel strongly that we cannot support a healthcare bill which goes past the current restrictions, which is no federal funding for abortion," Stupak said.

"So, if they go further than that, a lot of us will find it very difficult to vote for the Senate bill," he said. "Not just because of the abortion language, but even other language in the Senate bill those of us in the House are not pleased to see."

David Brody, of CBN News, responds to the tenuous situation — calling it the "dirty little secret that nobody in Democratic circles really wants to talk about."

"There’s a very good chance that pro-choice lawmakers will have to decide what’s more important; passing healthcare reform legislation or abortion," he says.

"Stupak has publicly said his pro-life abortion language must stay in the final bill. He could take roughly 10 pro-life Democrats with him and vote against the final healthcare bill if his language is changed," he said. "That would sink the bill."

"At that point, pro-choicers would be pretty much forced into swallowing hard and accepting Stupak’s language into the final bill so healthcare reform can pass with Stupak’s gang of 10 or the pro-choicers may say forget it," he continues.

"They may tell Pelosi that while they want healthcare reform in the worst way they want to protect women’s rights to abortion even more. Seriously, it really could come down to this," he explained.

He quotes Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker who knows how these battles can go down.

"I think they have a huge problem because the people who dominate the Democratic Party today are radical secular left-wingers. If you said to them you could have health care as long as you make it illegal for any tax money to go to abortion I suspect that they would rather not have healthcare," Gingrich says.

There is another potential divide that also complicates the picture.

The pro-abortion stalwarts in the Senate have signed off on the Nelson-Reid language while the abortion activists in the House are initially opposed. Eventually, one side will have to give up some ground.

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