WASHINGTON (BP)--Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and other pro-life leaders expressed their deep disappointment in Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson's agreement to health-care legislation they say does not prevent federal funds from supporting abortion.
"Profiles in courage are rare. In the past few days, we have seen just how rare in the United States Senate."
-- Richard Land
With Nelson's decision to back the latest health-care proposal offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrats gained the final vote needed to move the bill toward passage. The Senate voted shortly after 1 a.m. Monday to invoke cloture on the abortion agreement, thereby preventing a filibuster by Republicans.
Reid gained exactly the votes needed to gain the procedural victory when 58 Democrats and two independents voted to end debate and move the legislation forward. All 40 Republicans voted against cloture.
The final vote in Reid's effort to advance the controversial measure came when Nelson announced his agreement to support the bill following concessions from the majority leader from Nevada. Nelson said he believed they had achieved the goal of preventing "tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions."
The country's major pro-life organizations disagreed.
Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), said he is "distressed that Senator Nelson would settle for so little on the pro-life issue."
Nelson "let down Nebraska and he let down Americans who oppose government-funded elective abortions," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List.
"The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).
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