The Senate is now debating amendments to its version of a health care reform bill and Lifenews reports that a Stupak-type amendment may be debated and voted on as early as Friday. The amendment will be offered by pro-life Democrat Ben Nelson (D-NE) and co-sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Chances for passage of the Nelson Amendment appear slim. If it fails, the Senate bill will not only provide massive federal funding for abortion, but could potentially mandate elective abortion coverage in all medical insurance plans. That’s because an amendment by pro-abortion Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), which passed today, leaves it to the Department of Health and Human Services to define which “preventive” services for women will be required care in all health plans.
Senator Nelson understands this and has promised to filibuster the final bill if it does not contain an amendment substantially similar to the House’s Stupak Amendment. Nelson’s filibuster would kill the final bill if he was joined by every Republican Senator – but that is too much to expect. A pro-abortion Republican like Olympia Snowe (R-ME) could be convinced to vote for cloture on the final bill if she got her way on other amendments.
What is needed is the support of additional Democrats for the Nelson Amendment. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) describes himself as pro-life and has made some strong pro-life moves. He needs to support the Nelson Amendment and to join in promising to filibuster the final bill if the Nelson language is not included. Democratic leadership is not particularly concerned about a Nelson filibuster at the moment. If Casey joined Nelson, leadership would be forced to incorporate pro-life concerns if they wanted a final bill.
So far, Casey’s intentions seem opaque. Please call Senator Casey now at (202) 224-6324 or contact him here and urge him to support the Nelson Amendment AND oppose the final bill if Nelson fails.
Missouri residents should also contact Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). McCaskill has never voted pro-life, but she did promise in town hall meetings in Missouri that she would oppose abortion funding in health care reform. The Senator should be held accountable for the promises she’s made her constituents. Please call Senator McCaskill at (202) 224-6154 or contact her here and let her know that her vote in favor of the Nelson Amendment is essential to keeping her promise to oppose abortion funding in health care.