Senate Republicans Won’t Let Democrats Use Abortion to Pass Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Republicans Won’t Let Democrats Use Abortion to Pass Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — If Democrats in Congress think they can rely on an appeasement strategy on abortion to pass the health care bill through the Senate via reconciliation, Senate Republicans say they are misled. In the latest turn of events in the ongoing abortion-health care debate, Senate Republicans have upped the ante.

The current status of the pro-abortion health care bill has Democrats attempting to pass it in the House and then using reconciliation to stop a filibuster and get a bill with changes — designed to secure House votes for the Senate bill — through both chambers.

The reconciliation bill with the changes will not likely be able to fix the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill.

But if Democrats try to include abortion language in the reconciliation package, Republicans will object — even if the changes are pro-life — because they want to force pro-life Democrats in the House to defeat the overall health care bill.

Hoping to get Rep. Bart Stupak and his colleagues to hold their ground against the Senate bill, Republican officials told Roll Call magazine late Tuesday that they will raise procedural points of order on all changes, including abortion.

“If there is anyone left in the House who believes Senate Republicans will help carry their water on abortion or anything else so they can vote in favor of the health bill, they are radically misreading our Conference,” a senior Republican Senate aide told the Congressional newspaper.

“Republicans intend to raise every point of order and will not waive a single one regardless of merit to assist Democrats in passing this $2.5 trillion health care boondoggle," the official said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, spoke in more general terms about the process.

He said Democrats can’t expect their agreements in the House designed to sell the pro-abortion Senate bill there, to hold up in the Senate.

“The House Democrats will have to decide whether they want to trust the Senate to fix their political problem,” McConnell told reporters yesterday.

He said the plan is to make House Democrats make a decision about "endorsing" the pro-abortion Senate bill on its own merits — including the massive abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems in the bill.

The plan has drawn the support of conservative bloggers online like Erick Erickson of Red State.

"This means Stupak and his pro-life Democrats in the House cannot vote for Obamacare because it is guaranteed to fund abortions. There is no way out of it. The Senate GOP is making it very clear," he said. "A vote for Obamacare is a vote for funding abortions. Period. The Democrats can give all the cover they want to Stupak, but the Senate GOP will show the cover to be the fig leaf it is."

Most pro-life groups are focused on killing the Senate bill in the House.

Organizations like National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and others have been working overtime to turn out calls and emails to get every House member possible to vote no on the Senate health care bill.

They also point out that the sidebar strategy of passing a companion bill along with the Senate measure and the reconciliation passage won’t work because there are not enough votes to ban abortion funding in the Senate.

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.

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