Democrats Want Weekend Vote on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Don’t Have Votes

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Want Saturday Vote on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Don’t Have Votes

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — House Democrats are still looking for a vote on the pro-abortion health care bill this weekend. Though they picked up momentum today with more members saying they would support the legislation, they still don’t appear to have enough votes to pass the measure and its abortion funding and promotion.

Majority Whip James Clyburn, the number three Democrat in the House, said today that he expects a weekend vote.

"I think it will happen by this weekend," Clyburn said on MSNBC.

I think so,” he said about having enough votes by Saturday. “I’m closer than I was yesterday. And I’ll be closer tomorrow than I am today.”

Clyburn said earlier this week that the vote could be pushed back to the April 4th Easter holiday, but Democrats received some momentum today.

Giving credence to some of the skepticism on the vote, Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter said today, "I don’t expect to meet until Saturday — if then."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the former presidential candidate and Ohio congressman who upset pro-life advocates when he switched from a pro-life to pro-abortion position, flip-flopped on the bill after arm twisting from President Barack Obama and will change his no vote on the House measure to yes on the Senate bill.

Also, Rep. James Oberstar, the former co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, also announced he will vote yes again on the Senate bill despite the abortion funding in it. Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee, also a longtmie pro-life advocate, has also caved on the abortion funding.

At the same time, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio appears to be leaning no and Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois said he will switch from yes to no because of the abortion funding.

Two different counts of votes still have Democrats lacking the 216 votes they need to pass the pro-abortion health care bill — or a procedural motion like the Slaughter Rule to "deem" it passed.

The FireDogLake blog has the vote at 206-190 against the bill and 209-205 against the bill if those who say they are leaning one way or the other are included.

That tracks close with the numbers from the House Republican leadership, who say Democrats have 206 votes for the bill – 10 shy of the numbers they need to pass the measure.

James Antle of American Spectator, a conservative publication, still has concerns.

"There are currently 51 Democrats who are said to be undecided and the leadership can afford to lose 37 Democrats in all, which sounds like a pretty tough road for opponents of the bill (without the Stupak language on abortion, all Republicans are expected to vote no)," he says.

He indicates Chief Deputy Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy told him that he thinks the Slaughter Rule is hurting the votes and "will make the American people very angry" if Democrats attempt to use it to pass the pro-abortion bill without voting on it.

Dan Perrni, a writer at the conservative Red State blog, agrees that the Slaughter Rule will give "cover" to no voters.

"Cover from the left: the undecideds who vote No could then say — I did not vote against the President’s health reform plan, I voted against the rule," he said. "Cover from the right: the No votes can also say they were not comfortable with ‘passing the bill without voting on it.’"

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.

ACTION: Contact your member of Congress to oppose the pro-abortion health care bill by going to and then tell every pro-life friend and family member to do the same. Urge opposition to the Senate bill, the companion measure and the Slaughter Rule.

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