Obama, Democrats Set March 18 as Date for Pro-Abortion Health Care Vote
by Steven Ertelt
March 4, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Mark your calendars for March 18 as that is the target date President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress have set as the target date for a vote on the pro-abortion Senate health care bill. That means pro-life advocates have two weeks to contact lawmakers and urge them to vote no.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said today that Obama hopes to get the bill approved by that date.
March is when Obama leaves for an international trip and Gibbs told reporters at a briefing this morning that it makes a convenient target.
"We’re leaving on March 18 and we believe that we’re on schedule, based on our conversations with the Speaker and the majority leader, to get something done by then," Gibbs said Thursday morning on MSNBC. "I think this is going to get done in the next couple of weeks."
With the reconciliation bill that will follow not making any changes to the massive abortion funding and pro-abortion problems the Senate bill invites, stopping the Senate bill in the House is the main priority.
Thanks to the opposition from pro-life Democrats, pro-life advocates may be able to complicate the numbers game for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But Gibbs thinks there will be enough votes for the bill.
"We’re going to work every day to make sure we have the votes," he said. "My sense is that if the vote were held today, we would have the votes."
Jim Geraghty, a writer for the conservative National Review, wonders why Obama and Pelosi are pushing for March 18 — when special elections come after that that could provide them with more yes votes.
"Looking over the upcoming special House elections, and how they could affect the oh-so-close vote on health care in that chamber, I’m beginning to think President Obama is a fool," he writes.
"On April 13, residents of Florida’s 19th congressional district fill the seat left empty by the retirement of Robert Wexler, and will pick either Democrat Ted Deutch or Republican Ed Lynch. It’s a very Democratic district, " Geraghty notes.
And in May, Pennsylvania voters will choose a replacement for Democratic rep. John Murtha, who passed away. Also in May, Hawaii voters will choose a replacement for Hawaii’s 1st district, which has typically gone to a Democrat.
"In other words, it’s entirely possible Obama could have an extra three votes if he put off the health-care vote until late May or later," Geraghty writes. "I guess Obama’s not in a gambling mood."
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, emailed LifeNews.com about how that works.
"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.
ACTION: Click here to find your member of the House and urge a NO vote on the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.
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