Ironically, the President's flagship legislation may be derailed by proponents of a government take-over of health care -- Pelosi's kind of Catholics.
UPDATE 3/5/10: Catholic Bishops offer Dems deal to support ObamaCare
-- From "Could Issue of Abortion Derail Health Care Bill?" by Huma Khan, ABC News 3/4/10
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., today said he and 11 other [Democrat] House members will not vote for the health care bill unless it includes more stringent language to prevent federal funding from going toward abortion services.
"We're not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language," Stupak told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today, referring to the Senate health care bill, which includes less restrictive language than what the Democratic lawmaker proposed in the House.
Stupak said he is willing to take the criticism that will be hurled at him if he blocks the bill because of the abortion language, but that he won't back down on his principles.
"I want to see health care pass. I agree... people are being priced out of the market. We must have health care but, boy, there are some principles and beliefs that some of us are not going to pass," he said. "We're prepared to take the responsibility. I mean, I've been catching it ever since last fall. Let's face it, I want to see health care. But we're not going to bypass some principles and beliefs that we feel strongly about."
House Speaker [and Catholic] Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today said that the bill makes no changes to the existing law on abortion.
Proponents of more stringent abortion measures such as Stupak argue that in an insurance exchange, which is part of the health care overhaul bill, the current standing regulations on abortions will not be enough to prevent federal funding from going toward those services.
"We want see a bill. But the bill that they [White House] are using as a vehicle is the Senate bill," Stupak said. "You would find in there the federal government would directly subsidize abortions, plus every enrollee in the Office of Personnel management plan, every enrollee has to pay a minimum of $1 per month toward reproductive rights which includes abortion."
"Give us our language. Let's keep current law: No public funding for abortion."
Stupak's amendment, which was part of the House bill but failed in the Senate, limits access to abortions for people who receive federal subsidies and those who purchase insurance through a health insurance exchange, a marketplace where people would be able to shop for and compare insurance plans.
Stupak's more restrictive anti-abortion language passed the House by a vote of 240-194. Senators defeated the anti-abortion amendment 54-45, and that Obama is pushing.
The congressman from Michigan does not think there are enough votes in the House to pass the health care bill as it currently stands, and called the Senate bill "totally unacceptable."
"I'm not involved in the head count but they are lucky if they have 150 votes," Stupak told ABCNews.com. "They have to make a lot of improvements in order to get House members to vote for it. Members are not enamored with the process or contents of the bill."
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From "Pelosi Calls Pro-Life Democrats Liars, Third Abortion Funding Denial This Week" by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor 3/4/10
In a press conference today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied the abortion funding in the Senate health care bill for the third time in the last seven days. Reacting to a promise from pro-life Democrats to kill the bill over the massive abortion funding it contains, Pelosi essentially called them liars.
Politico indicated Pelosi talked about ways in which the reconciliation bill could be used to attract votes from Democrats for the Senate health care bill, but she omitted abortion. That's likely in part because the reconciliation bill can't be used to strike the abortion funding.
“I will not have it turned into a debate on (abortion),” she said when asked a follow-up question about Stupak.
John McCormack a pro-life writer at the conservative Weekly Standard, said Pelosi is lying about the abortion funding component of the Senate bill.
"Speaker Pelosi is not telling the truth. The Hyde amendment--the 'law of the land' banning federal funding for abortion in other programs--was left out of the Senate health care bill," he said. "The Senate bill includes three different provisions to spend taxpayer money on abortions."
Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of the pro-life office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops put Pelosi's myth to bed in response to the second set of falsehoods.
“While the Senate bill includes some language limiting the direct use of tax credits to subsidize abortion coverage, it still violates longstanding federal precedent on abortion funding in two ways," Doerflinger explained.
“First, the Senate’s abortion language limits only use of tax credits for abortion in qualified health plans, not other funding in the bill. For example, the bill authorizes and appropriates $7 billion for services at community health centers (increased to $11 billion in the President’s new proposal). The Hyde amendment does not prevent direct use of these billions of dollars for elective abortions (because the funds are not provided through the appropriations bill governed by Hyde); nor does any provision in the Senate bill," the pro-life Catholic leader said.
“Second, the Senate’s language on tax credits still allows subsidies for overall health plans that cover elective abortions, against the policy of the Hyde amendment and other longstanding federal laws. The bill requires each American purchasing such a plan to make a separate payment to the insurer every month, solely to pay for other people’s abortions. This is an enormous imposition on the consciences of the millions of Americans who oppose abortion," Doerflinger concluded in his statement.
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