November 10, 2009

The Fate of Health Care in the Senate

The Stupak/Pitts Amendment to the health care bill that just passed through the House denies access to federal dollars to fund abortion – a provision vehemently opposed by several pro-choice coalitions that are now taking aim at the Senate version of the bill.

As the Senate looks to move forward in developing and passing health care legislation, it is likely that groups such as NARAL and other pro-choice forces in the Senate will have a heavy hand in crafting that legislation. Both Senators Boxer (CA) and Baucus (MT) are in agreement that an amendment similar to Stupak/Pitts is doubtful to pass through the Senate.

And herein lies the problem with Senate passage of the bill – pro-lifers, such as Senator Ben Nelson (NE), has adamantly stated that he is indeed in favor of the protections against abortions offered in an amendment like Stupak/Pitts. Nelson and his brethren have already decided that they are “highly unlikely” to vote for any legislation unless it includes language that would essentially prohibit federal funding to be used for abortion procedures.

So it seems that the battle lines have already been drawn for a bill that while barely passing in the House, will no doubt face many more obstacles in the Senate. Don't expect this mêlée to be resolved until after the first of the year…

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