Senate Health Bill’s Abortion Language Triggers Mixed ReactionsThe Hill reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "prefers abortion language in the Senate healthcare legislation to the House approach." Pelosi said she was pleased with the Senate bill's treatment of abortion, saying "'I think it's pretty clear no federal funds would be used to pay for abortion.'" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid left out Rep. Bart Stupak's abortion amendment from his merged Senate health care reform bill, opting instead to "maintain current law where that is applicable and extend it to new programs created by the legislation." Pelosi she believes the Stupak amendment "goes beyond maintaining the status quo" on banning federal funding of abortion (Soraghan, 11/19).
Fox News reports in the meantime that Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., has called out the "small handful" of anti-abortion Democrats in the Senate "saying just one needs to come forward and vote against proceeding to the Senate Democratic leader's healthcare reform bill." Johanns' statement had Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, of Nebraska, in mind, Fox News reports. Nelson has said that merely voting to advance the bill to debate was not a vote of support for it (Turner, 11/19). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.