From our own Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan comes word that Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mi) is holding very firm on his position to vote against Obamacare unless his language excluding abortion coverage is adopted. And, he has 10-12 Democrats standing firmly with him. This information came to Ryan in a private conversation with Stupak.
Obamacare passed the House by a slim 220-215 margin. Ryan was asked if the 10-12 pro-life Democrats were in addition to the 39 Democrats who voted against the bill. “Yes,” said Ryan, “so my assumption is right now they’re trying to replace those votes.” The Dem leadership would have to sway 7-9 of the 39 who initially voted against Obamacare to undermine Stupak and his pro-life colleagues. In addition, Republican Congressman Anh Cao from Louisiana who originally voted for Obamacare says he will vote no if abortion funding is in the final version.
Buttressing Stupak’s position is a new Quinnipiac University poll which found that a whopping 67% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. The survey question was: “Do you support or oppose allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a health care reform bill?” While 67% oppose, only 27% support. Men oppose the funding 65%-29% and women 68%-26%.
Too close for comfort with the lives of so many unborn babies on the line.
Yesterday, the New Hampshire House voted 242-113 to defeat a bill to legalize assisted suicide. Last fall, the House Judiciary Committee, after an enormous struggle, recommended that the bill be killed. Billed as similar to the Oregon law allowing assisted suicide, the New Hampshire bill would have allowed people from other states to travel to New Hampshire to be assisted with suicide. This and other flaws led to the defeat of the measure.
Of the three states that have legalized assisted suicide, Oregon and Washington have done so via ballot questions. The Montana State Supreme Court legalized assisted suicide there in late 2009. In contrast, 113 bills in 24 states have been introduced in state legislatures since 1994. All have been defeated by vote, tabling or inaction.
The New Hampshire defeat is a huge setback for Compassion and Choices, the leading pro-euthanasia group, that felt it was on a roll following legalization in Washington and Montana.
All eyes now turn to Connecticut where there is a pending court case, and Hawaii where action may take place on a bill introduced there.
In addition to the six problems in the Senate version of Obamacare outlined yesterday, the National Right to Life Committee found a new stealth abortion proposal in the bill. Within the Manger’s Amendment crafted by Senator Harry Reid and adopted by the Senate, there is language which makes a direct appropriation of $7 billion over five years for Community Health Centers or CHCs. Because this is a direct appropriation of moneys in the health care bill, this provision will not go through the annual appropriations process and be subject to the Hyde amendment which prohibits federal funding of abortions.
As NRLC explains, this is not a hypothetical concern. There is nothing in current law which prohibits CHCs from actually performing abortions. There is already an organized effort underway by the Reproductive Health Access Project to encourage CHCs to perform abortions “as an integrated part of primary health care.” Project managers have produced an “administrative billing guide” to help CHCs integrate abortion into their practices within the confines of existing federal and state restrictions.
Is it a coincidence that Reid has put $7 billion into Obamacare for CHCs, unconstrained by the Hyde Amendment or any other language restricting direct federal funding of abortion? I think not.
In a lengthy letter to Members of Congress, the National Right to Life Committee details six major problems with the Senate version of Obamacare which are eliminated if the House version with the Stupak language is adopted. The Senate bill problems are as follows:
The Senate version of Obamacare does not have a “public option,” but creates an Office of Personnel Management which would administer two or more multi-state insurance plans, one of which would be subject to abortion limitations but the other open to covering or being required to cover elective abortions.
Private plans which cover abortions would qualify for a federal subsidy for individuals eligible for the subsidy. Every enrollee would be subject to a requirement that he or she pay for an abortion “surcharge” to cover elective abortions.
Many of the inadequate abortion “restrictions” are temporary and tied to whatever Congress decides they should be in the annual appropriations process.
There is no permanent ban on abortion funding in Indian health programs.
There is no language to prevent any agency or official given authority under the bill from issuing administrative mandates that would require any private health plan to cover abortions. For example, under the Mikulski amendment adopted by the Senate, a federal official merely has to make elective abortion a “preventive” service and its coverage would be mandated.
Abortion conscience protection for hospitals and medical professionals are inadequate.
The U.S. Catholic Conference has issued a strong warning in opposition to Obamacare unless abortion coverage is prohibited and the conscience of hospitals and medical professionals protected. Unable to persuade its Senate allies to adopt the Stupak-Pitts langauge prohibiting abortion coverage, the Church is turning to its parishioners to contact their congresspersons and Senators en masse. The Church does not believe that either the House or Senate versions of Obamacare contain adequate conscience protections.
The nationwide bulletin insert contains suggested messages and allows an individual to send a pre-written, instant email. A vote on the final version could occur in late January.
Setting the stage for Rep. Bart Stupak’s latest comments on Obamacare is Senator Bob Casey of PA. Casey says the final version will contain the pro-abortion Senate language. When asked about Stupak’s resolve to have his language included instead of the Senate language, Casey said “There is a concern about that, but I think we can reach an agreement between the two houses and get it passed.”
Not so fast, says Stupak. In an interview with the New York Times, Stupak says he and 10-12 House members will vote no unless his pro-life language prohibiting abortion coverage is part of the final bill. “It’s not the end of the world if it goes down,” Stupak says about the entire health care bill. Facing intense opposition and even animosity from his colleagues, Stupak adds, “I get the distinct impression that I’m the last guy the president wants to see.”
Enter Senator Ben Nelson who is becoming shakier by the moment as the debate rages. Unfortunately, Nelson continues to firmly maintain that his abortion language in the Senate bill bans taxpayer funding of abortion coverage, even though it allows states to force taxpayers to fund it. Regarding the overall bill, Nelson now maintains it was a “mistake” for Obama and the Democrats to advocate a health care overhaul when the country is facing mounting economic problems. “I think it was a mistake to take health care on as opposed to continuing to spend the time on the economy,” Nelson told a local newspaper.
In the end, will the Democrats lose Nelson’s key 60th vote? The attempt to buy him off backfired as Nelson is sliced and diced back in Nebraska and polls show him losing badly in a hypothetical 2012 Senate race.
The President and Congressional leaders are on the verge of enacting a massive health care overhaul which could force taxpayers to subsidize abortion coverage and lead to rationing of care for seniors. But, their vote margins are slim indeed.
As just announced, Congressional leadership is skipping the normal conference committee approach to craft the final version of Obamacare because there would be too many cooks in the kitchen, including some “infamous” Republicans. It appears that the pro-abortion Senate bill will be the starting point which makes sense from a political standpoint. Many deals were consummated to reach the magical 60 votes with not a vote to spare.
In the House, Obamacare passed by a very slim five votes. House Republican leader Eric Cantor states that “In order to pass a final bill, Democrat leaders cannot lose a single vote of the 60 they gained in the Senate, nor more than two of the 220 votes they gained in the House. To get their bill to this point, Democrat leaders have made a series of contradictory commitments and deals, each of which has the possibility of derailing a final bill.
“On the issue of abortion funding, for example, Senate Democrats have indicated that they cannot agree to the House-passed language, which continues a long-standing prohibition of federal funding of abortions. Meanwhile, many pro-life House Democrats who voted for the final House bill because of the fixed abortion language have indicated that the Senate-passed language is insufficient.”
Cantor says there are maybe 37 Democrats who could vote against the bill. If the Stupak amendment does not prevail, there may be as many as 11 Democrats who will vote against it. Those 11 would include Jerry Costello and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Kathleen Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Marcy Kaptur and Steve Driehaus of Ohio, Dale Kildee and Bart Stupak of Michigan, Jim Oberstar of Minnesota and Charlie Wilson of Texas.
There is still a chance to derail Obamacare by switching just three House votes and only one Senate vote. Senator Ben Nelson is under tremendous pressure in his home state to be that one vote. Will more votes be bought? Will the Stupak language prevail? Intense drama with so many lives at stake.
Everyone thinks Tom Barrett is a “nice guy.” In reality, he is as nasty as Jim Doyle when it comes to abortion. Barrett has compiled a solid pro-abortion voting record as a member of the State Assembly, State Senate and the House of Representatives.
From 1984 to 1992 when he served in the state legislature, Barrett voted the pro-abortion position 53 times out of 55 votes. Probably his most egregious vote was his opposition to Wisconsin’s parental consent law. Duh. Only a hard-core proponent of abortion would think that secret abortions keeping parents in the dark about their minor daughter’s abortion is helpful to families.
Continuing that theme, while serving in Congress, Barrett voted against the Child Custody Protection Act. That bill would have made it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines to have an abortion, keeping the abortion secret from the parents. He voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which allows prosecutors to charge third parties who harm or injure an unborn child for the crime against the child. And, on and on.
In the months ahead, Wisconsin Right to Life will be on a mission to dispel the “nice guy” image Barrett has created and expose his ruthless record to make certain that unborn babies can continue to be killed.
The U.S. House and Senate versions of Obamacare have significant differences with one of the most prominent being the role that government will play in subsidizing coverage of abortion on demand. The House version contains the Stupak/Pitts language ( favored by National Right to Life, the U.S. Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Right to Life, and all right-to-life groups) which prohibits the subsidy of abortion on demand except in limited circumstances. The Senate version contains much weaker language accepted by Senator Ben Nelson (D-Ne) and crafted with the assistance of Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa), both of whom claim to be pro-life. The Senate language is a phony “compromise” which attempts to separate private funds from public funds and have the public believe that the government will not be subsidizing abortion coverage.
Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mi) is not buying the Senate language and has publicly thrown down the gauntlet, telling pro-abortion leadership in both houses of Congress and the President that there will be no Obamacare unless his language prevails in the final version of Obamacare. Stupak states he has 10-12 Democrats who will vote against the final version of Obamacare if he doesn’t get his language. This number of votes is significant since the House bill squeaked through by only a five vote margin.
Right-to-Life advocates remain bitterly disappointed in the Nelson and Casey sell-out, especially in their home states of Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Nelson has taken to attacking pro-life groups. Don’t count on either of them holding out for more restrictive abortion language.
On December 31, 2009, the Montana State Supreme Court by a 5-2 vote ruled that assisted suicide is allowed by the state statutes under the state’s living will law. The Court avoided creating a constitutional right to assisted suicide under the state constitution. This leaves the door open for legislative activity to provide protection for the vulnerable.
In his dissent, Justice Jim Rice stated that “The Court has badly misinterpreted our public policy: assisting suicide has been explicitly and expressly prohibited by Montana law for the past 114 years.”
Legal analysts opposed to the ruling believe the Court simply reached the decision it wanted to reach, ignoring decades of Montana law and numerous briefs submitted stating that those with disabilities and older people would be victimized by assisted suicide. Another example of judicial activism running wild.
Where will Compassion and Choices strike next? It has already filed suit in Connecticut with the potential for new lawsuits in other states.