Saturday, December 19, 2009

BREAKING: Sen. Nelson Caves, Announces Support for Health Care Bill With Abortion Funding

Senator Ben Nelson with House Majority Leader ...

Image via Wikipedia

Family Research Council calls new abortion compromise "same gimmicky stuff" as original wording

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2009 ( - The final known obstacle for President Obama's health care overhaul suddenly toppled Saturday morning as news broke that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) had agreed on a series of compromises on abortion and other issues that he claims would allow him to support the bill. Pro-life leaders are dismayed

The Washington Post reports this morning that Democrat leadership working late Friday night reached a deal with Nelson, modifying slightly the bill's abortion funding and carving out favors such as additional federal Medicaid funding for his home state.

"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), in announcing the deal.

The abortion compromise includes allowing states to opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in the new insurance exchange, and segregating subsidy monies that go to abortion. The bill also will grant special federal funding for Nebraska to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income individuals, in addition to other concessions requested by Nelson.

"I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree," Nelson told reporters at the Capitol concerning the additions to the manager's amendment. "But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions."

Nelson said he "reserve(s) the right to vote" against cloture if further changes are not to his liking.

Tom McClusky, the Family Research Council's Vice President for Government Affairs, said that the new abortion compromise was "the same gimmicky stuff" as the bill's original language.

"I hope it's not too late for Sen. Nelson to not sell out his pro-life principles," McClusky told (LSN) Saturday morning. "No senator or organization that supports this manager's amendment can by any means call themselves pro-life, because this would make the federal government brokers of the abortion industry."

The senate plans to vote to end debate on the manager's amendment around 1 a.m. Monday morning.

Click here for National Right to Life Committee's resource for contacting U.S. senators (scroll to bottom).

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