Ben Nelson Calls Health Care Bill a "Mistake" as Abortion Deal Backlash Continues

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ben Nelson Calls Health Care Bill a "Mistake" as Abortion Deal Backlash Continues

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 7
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the 60th vote for the pro-abortion health care bill in the Senate, now says it was a "mistake" for the Obama administration and Democrats to push the bill at a time when the nation is facing a gigantic financial crisis.

Nelson has come under intense criticism from pro-life advocates after compromising his long-held pro-life views to okay abortion funding under the Senate measure.

Initially, Nelson defended his decision — bashing pro-life groups in the process by saying they opposed his pro-abortion language because they didn’t have any input.

Now, Nelson appears to be changing his tune in the face of local rallies and opposition from local Nebraskans and polls showing him badly trailing a potential 2012 re-election opponent.

In an interview with the Fremont Tribune newspaper that it says Nelson requested, he appears to back down from the bill for the first time since his landmark vote for it.

“I think it was a mistake to take health care on as opposed to continuing to spend the time on the economy,” he said.

He complimented President Barack Obama on his handling of other issues but said those successes “are minor in comparison to health care.”

“I would have preferred not to be dealing with health care in the midst of everything else, and I think working on the economy would have been a wiser move,” he said.

At the same time as he appeared to back down, he re-engaged in defending his vote and the process in Congress that has railroaded the bill ahead.

The paper indicated that Nelson said by insisting on certain changes before casting his vote he “took a bad bill and made it better.”

He still maintains that his language stops abortion funding even though it allows states to force taxpayers to fund abortions if they don’t opt out of funding abortions under the government-run health care program.

“I cannot understand the level of anger and frustration aimed at me because this language that I put together does ban (federally funded abortions). It absolutely bans it,” he claimed.

He called those provisions “deal breakers,” and believes he accomplished them, the Tribune indicated.

For pro-life advocates, the goal won’t be accomplished until Nelson’s abortion funding is removed from the bill and replaced with the Stupak amendment that truly bans abortion funding.

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