The Senate has been busy the past few days and the media reports of what has been going on have been contradictory and confusing at times.
The link below references a Washington Post article detailing why both sides of the abortion debate aren't fans of the abortion language in the Senate version of health care reform:
The letter below is from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, and it gives an overview of the happenings of the past few days. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Christmas Eve for final passage of their version of the bill.
Please follow this next link to send an email to your Senators, Senate majority leadership, and your representative:
On November 7, during floor debate on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), the House approved, 240 to 193, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, to enact a permanent ban on federal funding of elective abortions or health plans that include such abortions. The House then narrowly passed H.R. 3962.
The Senate is preparing for a vote on its health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). A final vote on cloture is expected on December 23 and the vote on passage is expected on December 24. On December 8, the Senate voted to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, 54-yes, 45-no. This amendment, like the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, would prevent the legislation from mandating abortion coverage or providing federal funds for coverage that includes elective abortions.
Subsequently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced his Manager’s Amendment, which represents the health care reform bill that the Leader intends the Senate to pass. The abortion and conscience provisions in this proposal are not acceptable. In a December 22 letter to the Senate, the U.S. Bishops state that the Manager’s Amendment does not meet the three moral criteria articulated by the bishops throughout the debate: keeping in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protection; protecting access to health care that immigrants currently have and removing barriers to access; and including strong provisions for affordability and coverage standards. “Specifically, it violates the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions. . .” The bill also does not provide adequate conscience protection. The bishops strongly urged the Senate “not to move its current health care reform bill forward without incorporating essential changes to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all.” The bishops conclude: “Until these fundamental flaws are remedied the bill should be opposed.” For the full text of this letter, see: nchla.org/docdisplay.asp?ID=313.
ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters. 1) To send an e-mail, click here. 2) Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE—SENATE: "The health care reform proposal now before the Senate violates the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions. It also fails to provide adequate conscience protection. Please do not move this bill forward at this time but continue to discuss and approve changes that would make it morally acceptable. If this does not occur, the bill should be opposed.”
MESSAGE—HOUSE: “I am pleased that the House-passed health care reform bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. Please work to ensure that this essential provision is included in any final bill sent to the...