Senate Will Vote on Pro-Life Amendments on Abortion in Reconciliation Health Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Vote on Pro-Life Amendments on Abortion in Reconciliation Health Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 24
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — To respond to some of the abortion funding and promotion problems in the health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law, a pro-life senator will be proposing amendments to the reconciliation health care bill in the Senate that will receive a vote today or tomorrow.

Senator Tom Coburn, a pro-life Oklahoma Republican will tackle two issues: the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.

The first amendment, according to a pro-life Capitol Hill source with knowledge of them that informed, prohibits coverage or reimbursement for abortion drugs.

The second codifies the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection amendment that currently applies to the annual HHS appropriations bills, but could be removed in the future. Senate Democrats prohibited consideration of this amendment back in December because they secured 60 votes to end debate on the bill.

There are also reports that other members will be preparing amendments on abortion funding itself.

According to Coburn’s office, the first amendment related to abortion drugs "would save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year by preventing payments for fraudulent prescriptions by Medicaid and prohibiting coverage of unnecessary drugs—such as RU-486 and other abortion drugs" in the new health care exchanges.

"These cost saving provisions will save taxpayers’ money and ensure more resources are available to provide medically necessary care to patients," Coburn’s office said.

The second amendment would "ensure health care providers are not forced to participate in abortions or discriminated against because they choose not to perform abortions."

Coburn’s office said, "It is important that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act not use the force of the federal government to require health care providers to violate their deeply held moral, ethical or religious beliefs or discriminate against them because they choose to exercise their consciences and not be involved with abortion."

"This amendment would protect health care providers from being required or coerced to perform abortions," Coburn’s staff indicated.

Under the health care bill Obama signed, 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.

The contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.

It 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 are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.

The 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 bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.

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