Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for breaking.jpgUPDATE, 9:45a: They called our bluff. Now what?
Most of us don’t want nationalized healthcare at all, even without abortion coverage. Now that Democrat House leaders have caved and are going to allow a vote whether or not to include abortion (which, by the way, confirms the vehemently denied but obvious: abortion was intended to be covered), what if our amendment passes? Will this clear the way for Obamacare?
No. Public funded abortion has always been a cornerstone of socialized healthcare. If it is excluded, the pro-abort constituency evaporates, both internally (congressional members) and externally (abortion lobby). As of now, House pro-aborts are saying they won’t vote for a healthcare plan with an abortion exclusion. Per CNN

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In a stark illustration of Democratic leaders’ bind on this issue, staunch abortion rights supporter Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO [pictured left], emerged from late night talks in Pelosi’s office warning that she and others would vote no if leaders agree to ban abortion from the public option….
DeGette said that caucus includes 190 members, and its leaders met Friday and agreed not to support language banning abortion from the public option.

And from The Hill:

The 3 women [Rules]Committee members refrained from voting on the rule that was approved 6-4.

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[Chairwoman Louise] Slaughter [D-NY, pictured right] , Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Chellie Pingree (ME) were not present for the debate on Stupak’s amendment….
The agreement was quickly condemned by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which called the amendment by… Stupak a “de facto abortion ban.”…
On Friday, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said passing Stupak’s legislation could jeopardize passage of the bill, because abortion-rights supporters were likely to vote against a bill that includes it….

UPDATE, 9:12a: I mentioned in my initial comment on this post that Ellsworth must have been thrilled to throw his lot in with Stupak, given the pro-life fallout from his sham pro-life amendment: ‘Tis true, according to the Huffington Post:

On Friday, Ellsworth withdrew his compromise language from negotiations, according to several House sources, sending the debate back to the starting line, where Stupak was waiting….

UPDATE, 8:40a: What the Stupak/Pitts amendment actually says
MSM’s version, according to the LA TImes

The amendment, which is expected to pass with the support of Republicans, would prohibit the new government insurance plan – or so-called “public option” – from covering elective abortions.
The amendment would extend a similar prohibition on private insurers that offer plans in new government-regulated insurance exchanges that are the foundation of the Democratic plan to expand coverage.

Pro-aborts are decrying that the private insurance component is a step back. From The Hill today…
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Liberals on the committee threatened to vote against the final healthcare bill if it included Stupak’s language, warning that it would be a return to the days of back-alley abortions.
“I forsee a return to the dark ages,” said Alcee Hastings (D-FL). “I’m 73, I’ve seen these dark things, they use these coat hangers and die.”

Puleeze. This amendment keeps the status quo. It is identical to the current federal employees’ insurance plan, which does not cover abortion. Currently, if a pregnant mother who works for the federal government wants to abort, she can do so with her own money.
Under the Stupak/Pitts amendment any low-income pregnant mother who would get her insurance through the government would have to do to the same. Or if she has a private insurance plan that is subsidized by the federal government, that private company could not pay for her abortion.
UPDATE, 8:10a: How this happened; The players; The plan for today
Here’s an email from a House source, sent in the wee hours, that offers an excellent explanation of what’s happening…

After a very long day, the House leadership acquiesced to pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) who have demanded a vote on the pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment.
The Rules Committee reported a rule that allows for consideration of the Stupak-Pitts amendment which was co-sponsored by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Stupak, Pitts, Kaptur, Dahlkemper, Smith and Lipinski all testified before the House Rules Committee tonight in support of their amendment to address the abortion funding concerns in H.R. 3962.
The amendment maintains the current policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. However, it clarifies that individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, can with their own funds purchase separate supplemental coverage for elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans that do not receive government subsidies may still offer elective abortions.
The rule for consideration of H.R. 3962 was reported tonight and allows for votes on 2 amendments and a motion to recommit. The amendments are the Stupak/Pitts pro-life amendment and the Republican substitute amendment which would implement a government wide permanent ban on abortion funding.
The House will meet tomorrow morning [JLS: today] at 9 am. Votes on non-controversial bills are expected before 10 am. If everything goes as planned, the schedule for tomorrow will be as follows: The House will begin debate on the rule for H.R. 3962 followed by 4 hours of general debate on the bill. Once general debate is completed, the House will debate the Stupak/Pitts amendment for 20 minutes, followed by 1 hour of debate on the Republican substitute. Votes on Stupak/Pitts, the Republican substitute, the motion to recommit and final passage could occur at the same time late in the day. There is also a possibility the debate will carry over into Sunday.
This is a critical pro-life vote, and it will be essential to have groups contacting Members urging them to support the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment.

7:26a: Email from Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life:

But now, as I write this at 2:41 AM, we’ve received the news that the Democratic leadership WILL ALLOW A VOTE on the pro-life amendment by Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts!

This is a major victory, as indicated by a CNN news report this morning. Ellsworth must have signed on to the Stupak/Pitts amendment, probably thrilled to do so after the tremendous backlash he got (examples here and here) for his phony pro-life amendment. Incredible that Catholic bishops were directly involved in the deal-making…

Anti-abortion Democrats will be allowed to offer an amendment during the House health care debate Saturday that would ban most abortion coverage from the public option and other insurance providers in the new so-called “exchange” the legislation would create, 3 Democratic sources told CNN.
The prohibition would exclude cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger, known as “Hyde” language.
The hotly anticipated vote on the nearly $1.1 trillion bill by the full House of Representatives is tentatively set for Saturday, but it could be delayed until Sunday. President Obama is expected to visit Capitol Hill on Saturday in hopes of gaining support among Democrats.
House Democratic leadership sources said that, win or lose, they hope giving abortion foes the opportunity to vote will clear the way for passage of their health care bill.
Several anti-abortion Democrats will offer the amendment, including Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-IN, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, who are scoring a major victory in convincing Democratic leaders to allow this vote.
It is also a big win for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which used its power, especially with conservative Democrats in swing congressional districts, to help force Democratic leaders to permit a vote that most of them oppose.
We didn’t have a choice,” said a Democratic leadership source. “We didn’t have the votes” on health care without agreeing to this.
Planned Parenthood decried the amendment, saying it would result in the elimination of abortion coverage currently offered by most private health insurance plans.
“This amendment would violate the spirit of health care reform, which is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all by creating a 2-tiered system that would punish women, particularly those with low and modest incomes,” the group said in a statement.
“Women won’t stand for legislation that takes away their current benefits and leaves them worse off after health care reform than they are today.”
The Democratic sources said people would be able to purchase riders with their own money for insurance that includes abortion coverage.
Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats have argued for a strict abortion ban for some time, but Ellsworth had offered a less strict compromise measure that would have prohibited taxpayer dollars for abortions.
Liz Farrar, a spokeswoman for Ellsworth, told CNN that some 2 dozen Democratic lawmakers made it clear that they needed assurances from the Catholic bishops before they could sign on — and that the religious group made clear it wanted to bolster the abortion restrictions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders were negotiating with the Catholic bishops and their representatives on Friday.
Late-night marathon talks in the speaker’s office included staunch supporters of abortion rights, but they broke down.
“We came to the point where we actually had an agreement tonight, but it fell apart,” Stupak said….


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