Pro-life Dems seek to hold Pres. Obama ‘to his word’

A coalition of about 40 pro-life Democrats apparently could decide the fate of a health care bill that soon will come before the House of Representatives, with the outcome decided either way by only a handful of votes.

At issue is whether the health care bill being written by congressional Democratic leaders will include public funding for abortion — which every bill passed in recent months by committees in the House and Senate did, in one form or another. Those various bills are being combined.

Leading the Democratic pro-life coalition is Rep. Bart Stupak, D.-Mich., who offered an amendment in a committee in July that would have explicitly prevented the health care bill from funding abortion. It was defeated, 30-28.

“We’re holding the president to his word,” Stupak said in an interview on C-SPAN Tuesday, referencing President Obama’s pledge that there would be no federal funding of abortion.

Stupak would prefer that his amendment receive a vote on the floor, but Democratic leaders likely won’t allow him to offer it because it would be “almost certain to prevail,” the Associated Press reported. If his amendment is not allowed a floor vote, then his only option is to try to prevail in a procedural vote known as the vote on the “rule” — a vote that sets the rules on debating and amending the bill. If Stupak and his coalition of about 40 Democrats prevails, then the health care bill cannot be brought to the floor.

It apparently is the best option for pro-lifers in both parties. The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to representatives Oct. 21 warning that the vote on the rule would be included in its scorecard that rates congressional members.

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