Pro-Life Democrats Joe Donnelly, Dale Kildee Oppose Pro-Abortion Health Care

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

Pro-Life Democrats Joe Donnelly, Dale Kildee Oppose Pro-Abortion Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Two key pro-life Democrats in the House whose votes could determine the fate of the pro-abortion Senate health care bill have come down on the measure.

Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana says he will vote no because of the abortion funding and Michigan’s Dale Kildee, thought to be a yes vote, has not taken a position for the bill.

Donnelly, who originally voted for the House version of the health care bill that contained the Stupak amendment, called the abortion language in the Senate bill a "fatal flaw" and said "I would not vote for it."

The congressman stated his objections to the Senate bill’s language in an interview with the Rochester Sentinal newspaper.

"Contrary to the language governing existing programs such as SCHIP and Medicaid, under the Senate bill the federal government will subsidize insurance policies that cover elective abortion," Donnelly said. "Under the new Office of Personnel Management program all but one plan could pay for abortion."

Donnelly said the Senate bill makes it so "authorities granted to federal officials could be used to mandate abortion coverage" — pointing out that the "Federal Indian health program is reauthorized without the Vitter amendment against funding for elective abortion" and "federal funds can pay for elective abortions at Community Health Centers."

"The accounting mechanisms in the Senate bill provide the authority to force many Americans to pay directly into an abortion fund," he said.

Meanwhile, pro-life Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee told reporters Tuesday night he is satisfied with the Nelson language in the Senate bill that pro-life groups strenuously oppose.

“I think the Senate language keeps the purpose of the Hyde amendment,” Kildee told reporters. “I’ll probably vote for it.”

But Thomas Peters of CatholicVoteAction, a pro-life group, contacted Kildee’s office and told a lead staffer there that the group planned to run radio ads in Kildee’s district saying it was disappointed he would support the pro-abortion Senate bill.

"Linsey Beck, Kildee’s legislative staffer, told us that the media reports were inaccurate, and that the representative has not decided to vote for the Senate language bill," Peters says.

He is still urging pro-life advocates to contact Kildee with encouragement to oppose the bill because he still appears to be "undecided."

Kildee and Donnelly are thought to be members of the Stupak dozen — pro-life Democrats who voted for the House health care bill who will vote no on the Senate measure because it funds abortions.

Rep. Bart Stupak is the Michigan Democrat whose pro-life Democratic colleagues have the ability to determine whether the bill lives or dies.

While Kildee may have backed down, Stupak said Tuesday that pro-life advocates who worry he will compromise say they don’t need to fear.

"Obviously they don’t know me," Stupak told The Weekly Standard about pro-life advocates who say he may be caving on stopping the pro-abortion health care bill.

He pointed to his wrangling with pro-abortion Democratic leaders last December in November to get the House to vote on his amendment to stop abortion funding in the House bill as evidence that he is willing to play hardball.

"If I didn’t" compromise back then, "why would I do it now after all the crap I’ve been through?" he told reporter John McCormack.

"Everyone’s going around saying there’s a compromise — there’s no such thing," Stupak said.

Stupak made it clear that there is significant confusion on the part of Democratic leaders on how to ban abortion funding in a way that would get the Senate bill enough votes — and that it may not happen.

Stupak says "the majority party can get it done. Where there’s a will there’s a way." Yet, he added, "No one has said here’s how you do it, here’s the legislative scheme."

The pro-life Democrat also likely pleased pro-life advocates with his pledge that a promise to fix abortion funding later is not good enough to earn his support for the Senate bill.

"If they say ‘we’ll give you a letter saying we’ll take care of this later,’ that’s not acceptable because later never comes," he told McCormack.

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