Either we’re starting to lose ground, or the other side is bluffing and trying to make it look like we’re starting to lose ground. I will say the person sending me this article only sends me stuff he thinks is serious. Whatever, please make your calls, send your emails, protest at offices, etc. Coming down to zero hour.
From Congressional Quarterly Today, March 11, 10:31p, not available online:
obama, smiling, abortion, healthcare.jpg

At least 4 lawmakers who supported a blanket ban on abortion funding in the House-passed bill now appear to be wavering in their opposition to the less restrictive Senate version, suggesting cracks in the anti-abortion coalition that has threatened to block completion of a health care overhaul.
House Democratic leaders sounded increasingly confident Thursday that at least a significant number of the anti-abortion lawmakers in their caucus will accept the Senate language rather than scuttle the health care legislation….

The situation appears to leave the leader of the anti-abortion hardliners, Bart Stupak of MI, stymied in his efforts to force the leadership to accept tougher abortion restrictions. Stupak has said he represents 11 other lawmakers who are prepared to vote against clearing the Senate-passed measure unless its abortion provisions are changed. He has not identified those other lawmakers, and it is now unclear how many votes he has in his pocket as he negotiates with party leaders.
As he walked into a caucus Thursday morning, Stupak appeared unsure that he would get the changes he is seeking. “I can’t predict that it’s going to be worked out,” he said.
A spokeswoman said later Stupak had no immediate response to indications from Democratic leaders that they intend to move ahead with House votes to clear the Senate bill (HR 3590) and to pass a 2nd bill under budget reconciliation procedures that would modify the Senate measure without making changes in its abortion language.
Charlie Wilson, D-OH, who in November supported a Stupak-sponsored abortion amendment to the House-passed health care package (HR 3962) and passage of the amended bill, is among those who has reconsidered his position. He said Thursday he is willing to vote for the Senate bill. Wilson said that while he would welcome any additional guarantee that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions, he will not withhold his support if the bill is not changed.
“I’m opposed to abortion, and I think the language in there is pretty clear that it is not something that pays for abortion,” he said.
As amended by Stupak, the House bill would prohibit insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in policies paid for with federal subsidies. Under the Senate bill, insurers could offer abortion coverage to women with such policies – as long as private funds collected directly from the policyholder were used to pay for it.
Democratic leaders have said the Senate language upholds the spirit of existing law known as the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or threatens the woman’s life.
Earlier this week, Dale Kildee, D-MI, said he also is now willing to accept the Senate language on abortion. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, said she wanted the abortion language changed, but stopped short of saying it is a deal-breaker for her. “I would not easily give over my vote for the bill” if changes are not made, she said.
An aide to James Oberstar, also previously thought to be in Stupak’s group, said the MN Democrat is undecided. “He hasn’t ruled out anything, including voting for the Senate bill if that’s an interim step to a better compromise,” said spokesman John Schadl.
A spokesman for Steve Driehaus, an OH Democrat, said his boss has not changed his position opposing federal funding for abortion but had not decided how to vote. “He’ll decide how he’ll vote once he knows exactly what the House will be considering,” press secretary Tim Mulvey said in an e-mail.
There are at least a few anti-abortion Democrats who are standing firm in their insistence on tougher abortion funding restrictions.
IN’s Joe Donnelly said in an interview Thursday he will not support the Senate bill unless the abortion language is changed. And Daniel Lipinski of IL is continuing to help Stupak make the case for concessions to abortion opponents.
“I think there has to be a realization among leadership that they need to pick up votes, and obviously the abortion issue is a big stumbling block,” Lipinski said Thursday.

HT: Dougy; photo via New York Daily News]

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