Pro-Life Democrats Say ‘No’ to Abortion Funding in Health-Care Reform

by Kim Trobee

Led by Rep. Bart Stupak, a group of Dems tries to force a vote on the abortion funding issue.

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Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and at least 40 Democrats reportedly will vote against a rule designed to govern debate on health-care reform, unless that rule allows an amendment to insert language similar to the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortions within the Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

If the Democrat leadership refuses to allow the pro-life amendment to be offered, those 40 Democrats, along with Republicans, could prevent the health-care bill from coming to the floor for a vote.

Stupak told the Washington Journal the 40 Democrats are resolute in their position.

“We believe, and the majority of American people believe, we should not be using public funds to pay for abortion coverage in health care,” he said.  “Somewhere in this process we have to have an opportunity to vote our conscience.”

Stupak said House leadership hasn’t said much in response to his request.

“We talked back and forth trying to find some common language that we could all agree with,” he said.  “Unfortunately, there’s been no agreement.”

Stupak said many of his fellow Democrats are unhappy with him, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I’m comfortable where I’m at,” he said.  “This is who I am.  It’s reflective of my district.  If it costs me my seat, so be it.”

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said Democrat leadership is trying to ram the bill through under what’s called the “closed rule.”

“The bill would set up a new federal program that would directly fund abortion on demand,” he said.  “Pelosi does not want to allow a vote on an amendment that would remove that pro-abortion provision.”

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