After weeks and months of dithering it’s all come down to today. The Stupak amendment to block federal funding of abortion will be voted on today.
In a surprise move after hours of tumultuous negotiations, the House Rules Committee, very early Saturday morning, approved rules for debate on the pro-abortion health care bill. Although it appeared Speaker Nancy Pelosi would deny one, it allows a vote on an amendment to remove abortion funding.
Pelosi’s hand appeared to have been forced when pro-abortion House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced earlier in the day that she did not have enough votes to pass the bill because of objections from pro-life Democrats.
The committee okayed a Rule that allows the House to vote on the Stupak amendment, offered by pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, to the health care reform legislation.
Pray for Congress to do the right thing. And call your legislators to encourage them to vote against taxpayer money funding abortion.
For weeks Stupak and a cohort of pro-life Democrats have held up healthcare legislation by telling Nancy Pelosi that they wouldn’t vote for the bill as long as they didn’t get an up or down vote on the floor on the Stupak amendment restricting taxpayer money from going to pay for abortions.
Pelosi clearly didn’t want to allow that bill because just about the last thing legislators want to vote on is abortion. It ranks right behind having all their teeth pulled out with pliers.
But now, because Pelosi saw she didn’t have enough votes to pass healthcare without them, she is allowing the Stupak amendment to be voted on.
Now, Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com wrote today that “If the amendment is defeated, Stupak and pro-life Democrats will likely still oppose the bill because of the abortion funding.”
But I’m not so sure about it as Stupak stated previously that if his amendment were defeated he would likely vote for the healthcare bill whether it included abortion or not. So I’m hoping Ertelt has some information that I don’t have.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that today’s vote on the Stupak Amendment could be the most important abortion-related vote since the Supreme Court cast its decision on Roe v. Wade.
“This will be one of the most important roll call votes that U.S. House members ever casts on a pro-life issue,” he said. “Any lawmaker who votes against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is, in effect, voting in favor of establishing a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds.”
Pray and act. Almost all of us who read this blog are pro-life. Well, today is the day the rubber meets the road. Please call your legislators.
Update: Read Patrick’s take on what the Stupak amendment might not accomplish. Be Careful What You Wish For.
Update II: Oh No! Congressman Stupak is predicting healthcare will pass. According to Michelle Malkin:
Stupak said: Health care has the votes whether anti-abortion amendment passes or fails. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) told reporters that regardless of the outcome of the vote on his amendment, which would severely restrict coverage of reproductive health issues, the House health care bill is headed for passage. He is whipping support for the amendment and estimates he has 225 votes. If he’s right, the amendment will pass, and he predicted enough pro-life Democrats will vote yes on the final bill to put it over the top. But if it fails, he said, enough pro-lifers will have been satisfied to have had their vote on the floor that they’ll turn around and support the final bill anyway.
Leading House Democrats are refusing to give pro-life lawmakers any guarantee that they will keep the Stupak amendment that cuts off abortion funding in the health care bill in later versions of the legislation should the House approve it.
The House is expected to vote on the crucial amendment today to ensure abortion funding is not allowed in either the public option or through the affordability credits.
However, even if the House adopts the Stupak amendment, there is no guarantee that it will remain when House and Senate leaders meet in a conference committee to iron out the differences in the two bills.