Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth Prompts Concern He May Flinch on Abortion Funding

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 11, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth Prompts Concern He May Flinch on Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 11
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Everyone on Capitol Hill, from top Republicans to leading pro-life groups, knows the block of pro-life Democrats in the House could topple the health care bill if it funds abortions. But, new comments from Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth prompt concerns he may go along with the Senate’s abortion "compromise."

The House approved its government-run health care bill only after adding the Stupak amendment to stop abortion funding. The Senate struck a deal with Sen. Ben Nelson to include some phony limits but essentially allow abortion funding.

Now, the concern is that some of the pro-life Democrats who promised to vote no on the bill if the Stupak amendment is removed will cave in as Nelson did.

Rep. Bart Stupak says he has a group of 10-12 pro-life Democrats who are steadfast, but he may not want to count Congressman Brad Ellsworth among that group.

In a new interview with the Evansville Courier and Press newspaper, Ellsworth essentially says he wants a health care bill approved as long as it doesn’t fund abortions. But he threw in a caveat.

"He said he won’t abide federal funding of abortion in the final bill, but he added that doesn’t mean he will end up agreeing with the National Right to Life Committee and other anti-abortion organizations that have denounced the Senate’s bill," the newspaper reported him explaining.

Ellsworth specifically said, ""I’m not going to take one group and say, ‘Just because they say it, it’s necessarily true.’"

He told the newspaper that the Senate bill uses "accounting principles" that could be argued effectively eliminates abortion funding. Pro-life groups say those principles make it so states that don’t opt out of funding abortions will make taxpayers pay for them in the health care plan.

"It all depends on who says it," Ellsworth said of how to interpret the Nelson-Reid abortion deal. "If, after my research and listening to all sides, I feel there’s federal funds being spent on abortions, for the performance of abortion, I won’t vote for it."

If Ellsworth goes along with the phony Senate language, it will be the second time he is gone against pro-life groups on abortion funding.

He proposed his own phony amendment that purported to ban abortion funding but essentially allowed it.

The National Right to Life Committee, the Catholic bishops, and other pro-life groups highlighted the amendment as a fraud.

Under the Ellsworth amendment, the new federal government insurance program, the "public option," would have still been authorized to pay for all elective abortion and the federal premium subsidies ("affordability credits") could still be used to purchase private health plans that cover elective abortion.

At the time it was introduced, NRLC legislation director Douglas Johnson said the Ellsworth amendment "will allow the new federal government insurance program, the ‘public option,’ to pay for abortion on demand."

"The pro-abortion House Democratic leadership is using Ellworth’s phony language to undercut the real pro-life amendment [from Stupak]," Johnson added. "The Ellsworth language is the legislative equivalent of putting pancake makeup on a cancer, rather than performing lifesaving surgery."

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