Democratic Infighting On Abortion And Health Reform Will Peak This Week
Examiner: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) intends to bring the legislation to the floor early this week, but Pro-life Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and a posse of conservative Democrats might just throw a wrench in Pelosi's plans. Stupak recently told CNSnews.com that he and 40 Democrats are prepared to unite with Republicans in an attempt to make sure that the health reform bill doesn't see the light of day on the House floor until consideration is given to an abortion amendment he wants to offer into the legislation" (Williams, 10/25).
The Hill: "Stupak, who is conservative on social issues, told CNS News that he has organized the voting bloc to support his amendment that would strip the abortion provisions from the legislation. House Rules Committee chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), according to Stupak, said that there is 'no way' her panel would provide a vote for his amendment. The group of 40 would join House Republicans in voting against procedural measure that would draft rules for debating the bill on the House floor. Passage of the measure is necessary for the House to hold a floor vote. ... With 177 Republicans in the House, Stupak would need at least 41 Democrats to cross the aisle and vote against the rule. Stupak's amendment was originally defeated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee during mark-up" (Fabian, 10/24).
NPR's Scott Simon interviewed health policy correspondent Julie Rovner about the controversy: "Now, the main deal that's now in both the House and Senate bills was cut in the House Energy and Commerce Committee back in July. ... The idea, remember, is to write language that freezes in place current law on abortion. So, the amendment says that all funds that will pay for abortion will have to come from premiums paid by individuals, not from the federal government. That within each 'exchange' - these are the new marketplaces where people will go to buy their insurance, if they buy it on their own or if they're small businesses - in each exchange, there'll be one plan that does offer abortion as a benefit and one that doesn't. And that, in any case, funds that will pay for abortion will have to be segregated from any federal funds" (Rovner, 10/24).
St. Petersburg Times' Politifact put some of abortion claims through the Web site's "Truth-o-Meter: "Republican John Boehner said that the Democrat-backed House proposal 'will require (Americans) to subsidize abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars.' We found that the federal government will not send tax dollars to abortion providers, so we rated his statement False. However, we found that health care plans that receive public money to help low-income people pay for insurance will be able to offer abortion coverage if those particular services are paid for with patient premiums, not the subsidies. So the National Right to Life Committee earned a True for its statement that a Senate bill 'contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion'" (Drobnic Holan, 10/25).