Conference Committee Bypass Set, Pro-Abortion Senate Bill Basis for Coming Vote
by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama have made it official: they will bypass a public, formal conference committee and negotiate behind closed doors on a final version of the pro-abortion health care bill.
The decision will have the the pro-abortion Senate version of the health care bill as the basis for a merged legislation that may very well include abortion funding.
Because the Senate approved the bill on a tenuous one-vote margin, there is less room for error there and little desire to subject the pro-abortion bill to additional 60-vote threshold votes.
Instead, Democrats have now formally adopted the "ping-pong" strategy of sending the Senate bill to the House to be tweaked and approved and back again.
Obama, pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden and top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid reached the agreement on strategy at a White House meeting Tuesday night.
They hope to be able to get the pro-abortion health care bill approved by the end of the month or early February and have it done so Obama can announce its passage during a postponed State of the Union address next month.
The decision to use the pro-abortion Senate bill as a basis for the final version of the legislation greatly concerns pro-life advocates.
That’s because the bill contains massive abortion funding by virtue of the Nelson-Reid abortion language in the bill that allows states to force taxpayers to fund abortions with government funds.
The Senate measure also contains the Mikulski amendment, which would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as "preventative care" and force insurance companies to use taxpayers’ premiums to pay for them.
Although the strategy is designed to be able to get the bill re-approved by the Senate on final passage that is not a foregone conclusion and neither is approval by the House.
The House initially approved its bill on a three-vote margin only because it contained the Stupak amendment to ban abortion funding.
With the Senate’s Nelson-Reid language and Mikulski amendment in place, a group of 10-12 pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan may very well revolt on supporting the bill unless the Stupak amendment is added to the Senate version of the legislation.
If the Stupak amendment is added, that could prompt some pro-abortion Democrats to vote against the bill.
Leading pro-life groups say the battle is not over and are urging pro-life advocates to continue calling, emailing, and contacting in person members of Congress to urge a no vote on the bill and support for stopping abortion funding.
The latest polling data finds a majority of Americans consistently oppose taxpayer funding of abortions.
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