Catholic Bishops Would Promote Sidebar Abortion Funding Ban Bill in Senate
by Steven Ertelt
March 5, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A spokesman for the nation’s Catholic bishops, who were instrumental in getting the Stupak amendment to ban abortion funding in the House health care bill, said they would work to get a sidebar bill through the Senate to offset the massive abortion funding in the Senate bill the House may approve.
A sidebar bill is a new concept Rep. Bart Stupak floated this week.
Stupak is the de facto leader of the pro-life Democrats in the House who are threatening to reject the Senate health care bill because of its massive abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems.
Stupak’s idea of a sidebar bill would have the House and Senate okaying a separate bill to go along with the overall health care measure that bans abortion funding.
However, the Senate already defeated the Nelson amendment by 10 votes and there doesn’t appear to be more support for banning abortion funding since then. On top of that, pro-abortion lawmakers could easily use a filibuster to stop the bill from advancing.
Late Thursday, Richard Doerflinger, an associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Politico the bishops would help lobby the Senate for a sidebar bill.
We would strongly urge everyone, Democratic and Republican, to vote to waive the point of order, Doerflinger said of urging senators to support procedural rules necessary to approve a bill. Whether it would be enough to get to 60 votes, I can’t predict. We would certainly try.
If the Stupak amendment or something equivalent to it were in the reconciliation package on the Senate floor and it was necessary to get 60 votes to waive the point of order, he said, we would strongly urge everyone, Democratic and Republican, to vote to waive the point of order.
Rep. Dale Kildee, a pro-life Michigan lawmaker who, like Stupak, opposes the health care bill over its abortion funding, also told Politico the idea has merit.
I think its something we should explore, he said. It could be something that could carry out the bishops objective.
That could be the key vote, Kildee said of overcoming a filibuster against a sidebar bill. The bishops could say, Are you really with us? Thats the key vote.
Even if Congress approves both the pro-abortion Senate health care bill and the sidebar bill banning abortion funding, President Barack Obama is under no obligation to sign the sidebar bill.
In fact, he would face tremendous pressure from Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the abortion lobby to veto the bill — leaving Americans obligated to pay for potentially hundreds of thousands of abortions under the health care measure the sidebar bill enabled.
For pro-life advocates, the main thrust continues to be focusing on defeating the pro-abortion Senate bill in the House. Pro-life groups continue to urge pro-life advocates to contact House members and ask them to vote no on it.
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