Senate Ends Filibuster on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Sets Christmas Eve Vote
by Steven Ertelt
December 23, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate voted 60-39 along party lines on Wednesday to end the filibuster of the pro-abortion, government-run health care bill. The decision to end debate sets up the final vote on passage of the bill on Christmas Eve — allowing the funding of abortions as millions of Christians prepare for Christmas.
With Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson providing the final vote, 60 Democratic senators signed off on the cloture motion while 39 Republicans, with pro-life Sen. Jim Bunning absent, voted against it.
The Senate also agreed to moving up the vote on the health care bill from the evening to 7:00 a.m. EST as Republicans decided to no longer postpone the inevitable.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the request came from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland let out a loud, exasperated groan when the presiding officer asked if anyone had any objections.
The response led to laughter in the Senate, but no objection.
Sen. Pat Leahy, a pro-abortion Vermont Democrat, asked earlier if any Republicans would be open to voting on the bill today, but they forced Democrats to make good on their pledge to vote to fund perhaps hundreds of thousands of abortions on the day before Christmas.
Earlier this week, the Senate adopted the manager’s amendment to the bill on the same party-line vote.
Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life Action, responded to the vote on the amendment — which puts the abortion funding in place.
She said 60 U.S. Senators just made history by voting to move forward with a bill that imposes a first-ever mandatory abortion tax on the American people."
"Majority Leader Reid knows that the vast majority of Americans don’t want this new tax and don’t want tax dollars bankrolling insurance plans that cover abortion," she added. "A yes vote is a solid yes to the expansion of federal funding for abortion. We will be making this tragic decision clear to those constituents who have been misinformed that their Senator is pro-life.
AUL notes that "Reids amendment does not change the fact that the government will subsidize insurance plans that cover elective abortions."
In departure from longstanding federal policy, section 1303(b)(1)(A) allows a qualified health plan one that participates in an Exchange and is available to individuals who receive tax credits to cover part of their insurance premiums to include abortion coverage.
"Therefore, insurance plans that cover elective abortions will receive these federal subsidies," the group explains.
"Finally, there is an additional limitation on choice in Majority Leader Reids amendment that has been largely ignored, and for the first time in U.S. history imposes an abortion tax on unwilling Americans," AUL adds.
"Under Majority Leader Reids amendment, ALL individuals who participate in plans in the Exchange that include elective abortion coverage, even if they do so unwittingly, will directly pay part of their own premiums into an account that pays for nothing but elective abortions," the pro-life group says.
"The amendment provides that each and every enrollee in such a plan (or their employer on their behalf) must write a separate check for elective abortion coverage, even if that enrollee never intends to have an abortion. That amount cannot be less than $12.00 per year," it notes.
"If John Doe works for XYZ, a small business, and XYZ decides to enroll John and the rest of its employees in an insurance plan that includes abortion coverage in an exchange, John and his coworkers will be forced to pay this abortion tax," the group concludes.
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