WASHINGTON (BP)--The U.S. House of Representatives appears poised to vote on health-care legislation that includes a so-called pro-life compromise opponents of abortion say is bogus.
"Under the new arrangement, instead of (a Health and Human Services) employee issuing blood money checks for elective abortions, HHS will pay a contractor to issue checks for abortion on demand."
-- Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J.
The House may vote as early as Saturday on the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962. The bill of about 2,000 pages in length includes a "public health insurance option," managed by the federal government, that would authorize funds for elective abortions and a federal subsidy program for private plans that cover abortion.
In addition, enrollees in the "public option" would be required to pay for abortion, House Republican Leader John Boehner warns.
Pro-life Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, have threatened to block the measure unless the House leadership allows a floor vote on an amendment that would bar federal funds from paying for abortions in both the public and private plans. As recently as a week ago there had been indications they had just enough votes to block passage of the measure by defeating what is known as "the rule" that governs consideration of the legislation.
Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D.-Ind., has stepped in to offer an amendment that reportedly will be included in the bill under the rule by which the Democratic leadership plans to bring the legislation to the floor. That rule, which may be voted on Nov. 6 or 7, is not expected to permit a vote on the pro-life amendment proposed by Stupak and Rep. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa.
Ellsworth, who has had a nearly perfect pro-life voting record since entering the House in 2007, said he is seeking "to ensure pro-life concerns are addressed" in the bill. House pro-life leaders, as well as anti-abortion organizations, criticized Ellsworth's amendment as a sham, saying it fails to address any pro-life concerns. Read More