Pro-lifers are grasping for any ray of hope after Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s abortion sellout this weekend—in which he “blessed” a worthless abortion proposal in order to advance a health bill to a vote by Christmas Eve.
However, Rep. Bart Stupak, who sponsored an authentic ban on abortion funding which became part of the House health reform bill, says, unlike Nelson, he will “hold firm.”
UPDATE, Dec. 24: Stupak insists he cannot be bought off with legislative favors.
Stupak said, in a statement released over the weekend, that proposed Senate language is unacceptable to pro-life Democrats, even though they want universal health care, because it would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage.
The U.S. Catholic bishops echoed Stupak, issuing a formal statement today opposing the Senate bill in its current form because it
1. prevents exercising individual freedom of conscience to opt out of abortion coverage;
2. includes a distinct fee extracted solely to help pay for other people’s abortions;
3. and will subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to the longstanding Hyde policy.
When asked about conference committee negotiations if the House is sent the Senate bill without his abortion-funding ban, Stupak said he won’t bend.
But Republican Party leader Michael Steele cast doubt on the bills being reconciled in conference, declaring that “the fix is in” and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would forgo conference negotiations and instead opt to push the Senate bill through the House.
In that scenario, tremendous pressure would be exerted on the 64 pro-life Democrats who had voted for the House version, of whom 10 are crucial to passage in the House. If Stupak, plus nine Democrats, stay strong in rejecting an anti-life bill, the reforms can fail.
It is our only glimmer of hope– politically speaking, that is.