House Committee Casts First Vote to Move Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill Ahead
by Steven Ertelt
March 15, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — An important House committee cast a key vote today that is the first vote leading to what will ultimately be a vote by the entire House on the bill or a motion to deem the bill approved. The House Budget Committee voted 21 to 16 to send the pro-abortion bill to the House Rules Committee.
The panel approved a "shell" bill that the rules panel will eventually strip and replace with changes to the Senate health care bill.
The Rules Committee is expected to meet on Thursday and pro-life groups are urging calls and emails to members urging a no vote.
Those changes, which will not include stopping the massive abortion funding and abortion promotion in the Senate measure, are designed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to get pro-life and moderate Democrats to support the bill.
The committee vote has important implications for the overall vote on the House floor as three Democrats considered likely to impact the final voted weighed in today.
Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas and Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida both joined the Republicans on the panel in voting against the pro-abortion health care measure. They both voted against the House bill on the House floor last fall and their votes are considered crucial in defeating the legislation later this week.
On the other hand, Rep. Marian Berry, an Arkansas Democrat who voted for the House bill last fall and is one of the pro-life Democrats who backed the Stupak amendment that pro-life advocates need to kill the bill voted yes on the measure.
Berry has been critical of both Obama and the health care bill and its abortion funding provisions since announcing his retirement, but without any pressure concerning a future election, he has little to lose by voting on the bill as he pleases.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that pro-life advocates should continue calling and emailing all House members to urge a no vote in advance of final consideration of the bill.
"Nobody should be taken for granted. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are pulling out all the stops, and there is a big disinformation campaign underway to camouflage the pro-abortion provisions that are in the bill," he said.
"But there are still at least 30 undecided Democrats — if the majority of them finally conclude that a vote for the bill is likely to cost them their seats, the bill will not pass. Citizens who care about the outcome must make their voices heard right now — the group of undecideds is shrinking hour by hour," he added.
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.
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