Lawmakers Still Trying to Craft Abortion Funding Compromise in Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawmakers Still Trying to Create Abortion Funding Compromise in Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 18
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Although the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate election could overturn the applecart, lawmakers are still trying to figure out what abortion language to include in the final version of the health care bill. The Senate measure funds abortions while the House bill has the Stupak amendment stopping abortion funding.

Abortion backers are hoping to find a way to include language that isn’t as strong as the Stupak amendment but will still be accepted by most lawmakers.

"We think it’s possible to come up with language that the Pro-Choice Caucus would not ’embrace,’ but would be acceptable," pro-abortion Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told the Washington Times today. "It’s really sensitive, and we need to figure it out."

But any language that fails to truly ban abortion funding in health care will likely earn the opposition of Stupak and a group of 10-12 lawmakers who voted yes originally and may change their vote on the final bill.

Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio is one such Democrat who could vote no on the final product because of abortion.

"I believe in clarity and simplicity, and we should make it simple and clear that taxpayer funds aren’t going to abortion coverage," he told Gannett on Sunday.

Still, he said a possible alternative is in the works, although the language would be strongly opposed by pro-life groups and the nation’s Catholic bishops if it fails to truly ban abortion funding.

"Reaching an agreement on abortion, I think, will likely take place at the very end of this process because it is such a contentious issue," Driehaus added.

He told Gannett he hopes any final abortion language will be accepted by the Catholic bishops.

"I would certainly hope the (abortion) language adopted would also allow the Catholic Bishops to support the legislation as well," Driehaus said.

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