Capitol Hill Update: Will the Abortion Issue Kill Obamacare?

 

Pro-life Democrat leader Bart Stupak, the courageous Congressman from Michigan, has been fighting a gallant many-month battle to have health care reform legislation absolutely guarantee that Americans' tax dollars will not be used for the abominable practice of abortion.  So far, it has been a losing battle.  The vote on Obamacare is expected in the House of Representatives in early November. 

Countless non-partisan authorities have confirmed that the five bills being considered in Congress  --  3 in the House of Representatives and 2 in the U.S. Senate, where only on Republican, Olympia Snowe from Maine, voted for only the Obamacare bill coming out of the Senate Finance Committee  --  will allow taxpayer funding for abortions.  Each of these bills are not subject to the Hyde amendment  --  authored by the late Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde  --  which ensured that no abortions, except to save the life of the mother and rape/incest abortions (less than 2% of all abortions) would be funded with tax dollars.  

There are some 40 Democrats who are from generally conservative districts who cast a pro-life vote from time to time  --  some all the time such as Congressman Stupak  --  and they, with a unanimous vote against Obamacare could stop abortion from being funded.  There are additional Democrats from conservative/moderate districts who are pro-abortion and whose reelection chances are threatened next year if they vote for a government-option health care bill.   

The pro-life Democrats, led by Congressman Stupak, are adamant that the final health care reform legislation must explicitly prohibit federal funding for abortion and plans that cover abortion. They plan, with the House Republicans, to force a rule change allowing the full House of Representatives to vote on whether taxpayers should pay for abortions.   

Some 80% of the American people do not want to pay for abortions with their tax dollars, including many who support abortion.  One would think that a vote on the Stupak amendment (co-authored by Congressman Joseph Pitts, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and the Chairman of the House Values Action Team) would be a no-brainer, but it seems as if the House and the Senate leadership are brain-dead on this issue.    

Ironically  --  and the House and Senate leadership both do not get the irony  --  an Obamacare bill with the Hyde (Stupak/Pitts) language attached would probably be sent to the president for his signature.  The passion to stop the bill is all on the side of the ardent pro-lifers.   

The bipartisan House Prolife Caucus sent out from their office the attached Associated Press (AP) article on abortion and health care reform authored by Erica Werner contains information about the status of abortion in health care. The pro-life caucus says about the article:  "Unfortunately, the article fails to report on the extremely important issue of abortion in the public option.  According to the story, 'The main point of contention is the proposed new federal subsidies...'   

"That is one of the two main points of contention.  As you know, the Hyde amendment does two things.  It prohibits funding for abortion and it prohibits funding for coverage that includes abortion.  This article focuses on the subsidies for plans that cover abortion, but does not address the important fact that the public option will fund abortion resulting in federal funds drawn on a federal treasury account reimbursing for elective abortions."   

The House Pro-life caucus office goes on to say:  "Referring to Rep. Stupak's request for a vote on the Stupak/Pitts anti-funding amendment, Werner indicates that the House will not be permitted to offer the pro-life amendment, because the leadership fears it would pass.  She writes, "Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it would likely attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats.  So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it."  

Finally, the pro-life caucus says:  "Since an amendment will not be permitted, the only pro-life option will be to vote against the procedural bill that would define what amendments may be debated.  As Werner explains it, "Instead, it appears they may have to take the risk of letting Stupak try to block action on the underlying bill, which he intends to do by assembling "no" votes on a procedural measure that needs to pass before debate can begin."  

The 80% of Americans who do not want to fund abortion with their tax dollars need to support the tremendous efforts by the leader of the pro-life Democrats in the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Bart Stupak, by calling their Member of the House to make sure that Congressman Stupak gets a vote on his amendment to ensure  --  as the Hyde Amendment has done for decades  --  that Americans do not have to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.  Time is now of the essence!

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