Ben Nelson Attacks Pro-Lifers Again, Pledges No Vote if Abortion Deal Weakened

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 31, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ben Nelson Attacks Pro-Lifers Again, Pledges No Vote if Abortion Deal Weakened

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 31
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Senator Ben Nelson is quickly digging himself into a hole from which he may never recover by continuing to attack pro-life advocates. In a new interview, he does that and also pledges to vote against the final health care bill if his already-compromised abortion language is watered down further.

Nelson brokered a deal with Senate Leader Harry Reid to include minor limits on abortion funding that don’t truly ban taxpayer funding on abortion in exchange for becoming the 60th vote for the pro-abortion bill.

Since he announced the deal, every major pro-life group and the nation’s Catholic bishops have denounced the language as forcing taxpayer funding of abortions.

In comments yesterday to the McCook Daily Gazette, Nelson took issue with that characterization and said pro-life groups only oppose his language because they didn’t write it.

He told the newspaper pro-life groups suffer from "pride of authorship" and are unwilling to support bills or amendments they didn’t write but which achieve the goal of not setting up government-funded abortions.

Nelson also told the Gazette he will not vote for the final conference committee health care bill if members of the committee "start fooling with taxes and come up with a new tax scheme or the House scheme" or if it funds abortions or weakens his Senate language.

"If they (the conference committee) try to weaken it in any way, I’m not going to be able to support the conference bill," he said.

This isn’t the first time Nelson has gone after pro-life groups for opposing his compromise language that allows states’ to force taxpayers to fund abortions and fails to limit the effect of the Mikulski amendment that could have the Obama administration forcing insurance plans to cover abortions.

Just before Christmas, nelson appeared on the Senate floor and went after pro-life groups.

Upset that he is now regarded as a sellout, Nelson struck back.

"Now, apparently I didn’t say, ‘Mother, may I?’ in the process of writing that language because others took issue with it, even though they cannot constructively point out how it doesn’t prohibit the use of federal funds or wall off those funds or keep them totally segregated. They just didn’t like the language," he said.

However, as the head of Nebraska Right to Life informed, Nelson ditched pro-life advocates by refusing to allow them to provide analysis on the language — which ultimately was found by every pro-life group to fund abortions.

Responding to the pro-life criticism, nelson ran a television commercial during Wednesday night’s Holiday Bowl game featuring the University of Nebraska showing him talking directly into the camera defending his decision.

The ad talked about the Medicare payments he received for Nebraska — which have been the subject of much criticism — but did not focus on abortion.

Nelson’s decision is clearly costing him support among Nebraska voters, a new Rasmussen poll shows.

The Rasmussen Reports survey shows that pro-life Republican Governor Dave Heineman would lead nelson if he challenged the senator for his 2012 re-election bid.

The telephone survey shows he would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote so a poll having him with less than half of that mark reveals serious consequences for his decision.

The poll also showed Nebraska voters oppose abortion funding in the health care bill.

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