CommunityThe Bullpen

Religious Groups Lobbying Senators On Nelson Abortion Amendment

We should see a vote on Ben Nelson’s Stupak amendment today, and even co-sponsors like Orrin Hatch, and Bart Stupak himself, don’t think it will pass.

Nevertheless, because we are a nation committed to the ideal of the separation of church and state, religious groups are making their feelings known. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had sign-off on Nelson’s amendment, are “urgently” lobbying Senators to back it, in a letter.

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we strongly urge the Senate to adopt essential changes to the health care reform bill to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all.

Therefore we urgently ask you to support an essential amendment to be offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) to keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of health coverage that includes elective abortions.

Religious groups opposed to the Nelson amendment have made their feelings known as well, writing a letter saying that they support the status quo on abortion in health care reform.

I would prefer all of these religious groups to have somewhat, um, less of a say in the political realm.

As for the endgame on this abortion language, after this vote fails, it’s all up to how far Ben Nelson wants to push it:

Last week, Nelson was threatening to filibuster health reform if his abortion language was not included, but he’s since walked that back. Even a Nebraska attention-seeker can only go so far, after all. Democratic leaders have said they’re working on other compromises to win Nelson’s support for the final bill, but it’s unclear that he was ever willing to vote for health reform, even if his amendment were to pass. And other pro-life Democrats–like Bob Casey, who is a co-sponsor of Nelson’s amendment–have not said the issue will determine their vote […]

The buzz early this week may be about the Nelson amendment and whether it will be the key or the stumbling block to passing health reform, but the real focus of players in the abortion world is what happens in conference committee once (if) there are Senate and House versions to reconcile. Intense brainstorming and negotiations are taking place, especially among House Democrats who voted both for the Stupak amendment and health reform. They aren’t willing to see health reform go down in flames and they don’t need language as strong as the Stupak amendment to support final legislation.

Stay tuned.

Previous post

Mr. President, How Can We Call For Rule Of Law If We Don't Follow It Ourselves?

Next post

Bridging the Gap between Pastoralists and Policy Makers

David Dayen

David Dayen

1 Comment