Senator Admits Reconciliation Won’t Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Democratic senator admitted today that the expected reconciliation bill Democrats are planning to railroad through Congress won’t stop the abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems in the Senate health care measure the House is hoping to approve within the next two weeks.
Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, made the remarks in an interview with MSNBC.
"I think changes to abortion would probably not be permitted under reconciliation and the Byrd Rule requirement," he said.
John McCormack of the Weekly Standard says Conrad’s statement is important because it means pro-life Democrats in the House who voted for the House version of the health care bill because it contained the Stupak amendment banning abortion funding will likely vote no on the Senate bill when it comes up.
"If Conrad is correct, then the House would have to pass the Senate bill’s taxpayer-funding of abortion provisions, he writes today. "Pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak has said that the abortion issue will cost Pelosi at least 10 of her original 220 ‘yes’ votes for the current proposal."
Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, one of those 10 pro-life Democrats who voted yes on the House measure, firmly told Congressional Quarterly on February 24, "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn’t have the House abortion language in it."
McCormack continues, "Back in November, Nancy Pelosi assented to an up or down vote on Stupak’s anti-abortion-funding amendment because she could not pass the bill without Stupak’s coalition of pro-life Democrats. Pelosi cannot resort to this maneuver again (and even if she could it’s not clear the pro-choice members of the House or Senate would go along with it)."
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, emailed LifeNews.com last week about the abortion funding in the Senate health care bill.
"Every version of the health care bill has contained multiple pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for abortion — except for the version that was fixed by adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, over Speaker Pelosi’s objections," Johnson explained. "But President Obama and Senator Reid succeeded in keeping that fix out of the Senate bill — indeed, the Senate produced a final bill that is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation to reach the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade."
He said the current Senate bill that Obama and Democrats are promoting through reconciliation, "would result in direct federal funding of abortion through Community Health Centers, tax subsidies for private abortion plans that cover abortion (including some federally administered plans), and pro-abortion federal administrative mandates, among other problems."
Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them.
But the bill contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.
The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.
The Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program.
And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.
Finally, the Senate bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.
The new Obama health care plan proposing final changes to the Senate bill so it can move through Congress corrects none of these problems outlined by leading pro-life groups as reasons for pro-life advocates to oppose the government-run health care bill.
And the changes Obama submitted for the Senate bill under reconciliation actually increases the potential abortion funding for Community Health Centers.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.NRLC.org
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