43 Democrats Will Vote against Health Care Bill Unless Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Language Is Removed, Group Says

By Melanie Hunter-Omar | October 30, 2009 | 12:34 PM EDT

Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., holds a copy of the House health care bill as he talks about health care, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(CNSNews.com) – More than 40 House members have agreed to vote against the health care reform bill if language is included that allows taxpayer-funded abortion, a pro-life group said Thursday.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) “has been working very hard to get commitments, and we have been working with him to get commitments from pro-life Democrats that will oppose the rule if he is not allowed to offer his amendment or his language is not included,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNSNews.com.
“So at last count, we have … commitments from about 43 members who said they would support Stupak and basically bring down the health care bill unless his amendment is offered,” Day said.
She said Stupak’s amendment would “apply to the Hyde language to health care, which is consistent with long-standing public policy for over 30 years that no federal funding was used for abortion.”
As CNSNews.com reported earlier, President Barack Obama told Stupak that when Obama said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,” the president was referring to Obama’s plan, which has never been written, not the House bill.
Stupak’s stance against taxpayer-funded abortion in the health care bill has prompted NARAL Pro-Choice America to produce a video attacking him, according to LifeNews.com.
“I'll be honest -- we all expected a fight from the usual anti-choice agitators on health-care reform," NARAL President Nancy Keenan reportedly told pro-abortion activists. “We expected it from Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the Family Research Council, and the American Life League."
"Stupak is ready to jeopardize the entire health-care reform bill to stand between women and their doctors," Keenan said. "He's willing to undermine health-care reform -- blocking the landmark bill from even coming to a vote -- in order to impose an abortion ban on women in the reformed health system. His proposal would take away coverage from women who already have it," she says, even though the latter claim is not the case.
"We've made it through five congressional committees, but if we can't beat Rep. Stupak's sneaky road block on the House floor, it will all be for nothing," Keenan added. "I can't overstate the consequences of what anti-choice Rep. Stupak is trying to pull. We must win this one."

Abortion ‘not a conservative issue’
NARAL is making abortion a partisan issue even though it isn’t, Day said.
“That’s the thing about the abortion issue. It should not be a partisan issue, and … people always ask me ‘how can you be a Democrat, because the Democrat is the party of abortion,’ and we have here 43 Democrats who are standing up and saying ‘no, we don’t want public funding of abortion,’” Day said.
She said polls have shown that a majority of Americans oppose public funding of abortion, “so Stupak is really representing the views of the nation on this.”
“So in a way, I think, ‘Great, bring it on NARAL.’ This proves that this is not a partisan issue. It’s not a conservative issue. It’s an issue that I think the Democratic Party should be leading on,” she said.
“Our long-standing historical mission has been to protect the vulnerable and the weak and the disenfranchised, and we should be leading on this issue. So, I just think what Stupak is doing is very admirable, and I hope more Democrats stand up and support him,” Day added.
The next issue that Democrats for Life of America plans to tackle after the health care bill is done, is the Pregnant Women Support Act, which Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.) introduced in the House and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced in the Senate.
The Pregnant Women Support Act, is a product of DFLA’s 95-10 Initiative, a proposal of 15 different policy programs that when fully funded and implemented would have the goal of reducing the number of abortions by 95 percent over the next 10 years.
The goal of the Pregnant Women Support Act is to reduce the need for abortion, help women bear healthy children and support new parents.
Under the measure, adoption tax credits would be made permanent; parenting education would be provided in maternity group homes; child care would be provided to low-income and student parents; and accurate data collection on abortion would be funded.
The act would also ensure that pregnant women are not denied coverage by insurance companies. It would provide new mothers with free in-home visits by registered nurses and establish a toll-free number for resources during pregnancy and post-partum.
DFLA is “trying to take the politics out of abortion and really find common ground,” Day said. “You see what happens with the health care bill when politics gets involved.”
“It makes it very heated, and what we did with the Pregnant Women Support Act is we have bipartisan support for the bill with Republican, Democrat, pro-life and pro-choice,” she said.
“So we really feel like we put together a common ground proposal that will reduce the abortion rate in this country, and it’s something that people on all sides of this issue and both sides of the aisle can support,” Day said.
“So we’re hoping after this health care reform bill is done, when we take up abortion, the Pregnant Women Support Act will be the lead bill and we can get past the partisanship and really work to do what’s best for pregnant women in this country and their families by supporting them and showing them that abortion is not the only choice,” Day added.