Abortion and Stupak Amendment Spins Up the Senate

From the Wall Street Journal:

A key Democratic senator said Monday he will follow House colleagues in insisting on tough antiabortion language before he votes for a health overhaul bill, causing new headaches for Senate leaders even before debate on a final bill begins.

“If it isn’t clear that government money is not to be used to fund abortions — whether it’s subsidies or direct payments or tax credits or something like that — I will not support it,” said Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, long seen as a swing vote on the Democrats’ health-care legislation. “If it doesn’t make it clear that it does not pay for abortion, you can be sure I will vote against it.”

Mr. Nelson and Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania are the two strongest abortion foes among Senate Democrats. They’ve talked about how to ensure that taxpayer-funded abortions aren’t allowed by the legislation.

Mr. Reid opposes abortion and faces re-election next year in a conservative state. He is often in a delicate position over the issue, since he leads a Democratic caucus that strongly supports abortion rights….

“Both sides in the abortion debate have begun pressuring senators to vote their way. Abortion-rights advocates argue that opposition will grow as people understand the reach of Mr. Stupak’s measure. “We’re going to hold the Senate accountable and hold their feet to the fire,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “We are reaching out to every single United States senator on this issue.”

“On the other side, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — which was instrumental in forcing the change in the House bill — sent a message to churches Saturday, urging members to ask their senators to “correct the serious defects in their bills” by tightening insurance coverage for abortions.”

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