Critical Condition

Life in the Senate

The pro-life Nelson-Hatch amendment (the Senate version of the Stupak ban on public funding of abortion) has been rejected in the Senate by a 54–45 vote. Since this was a vote to table the amendment rather than a vote on passage, the pro-life vote was “nay.” You can see how your Senator voted here.

Senator Reid’s bill therefore continues to embrace the fallacy that elective abortion of healthy unborn children is health care, and it also continues to defy over 60 percent of the American public, who are strongly opposed to using our scarce tax dollars to fund elective abortion.

The opposition of Senator Reid and his colleagues to the Hatch-Nelson amendment illustrates clearly that this bill is not about health-care accessibility or affordability.  It is largely a vehicle to sneak in the wolf of federally-funded elective abortion under disguise of health-care-reform clothing.

This may well be the beginning of the end of Obamacare. But the maneuvering will continue. In our ongoing effort to educate, here’s what to watch for:

– Senator Reid will likely “negotiate” a watered down (meaningless) version of the Hatch-Nelson pro-life language in his Manager’s Amendment. If Democrat Senator Nelson abides by his pledge to oppose the entire bill without the anything less than the language that just failed, then Reid may not be able to garner the 60 votes needed for final passage. Game over.

– If the massive political pressure and deceptions on abortion funding result in passage of a Senate bill, it will still need to be approved in the House (whether the bill is the current Senate bill, or a similar version that may come out of a conference committee). Given that a majority in the House (including 64 Democrats) tied up the Pelosi bill until it included the Stupak abortion-funding ban, a bill with anything less would be asking these Blue Dog Democrats to defy their consciences and their constituents. With the 2010 elections looming, that may be too much to ask. If it fails in the House, it’s game over.

We may well be witnessing a classic case of overreaching. The public abortion-funding advocates may well find a way to succeed. But at least we all know that true health-care reform has taken a back seat to the liberal’s sacred cow of abortion on demand . . . and on your dime.

— Dorinda C. Bordlee is senior counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, and editor of


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