Yesterday, Casey again was the only Democrat to vote for an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-NV) that would have made a permanent Hyde Amendment, barring federal funding of abortion, to the health care bill. The amendment failed.
Seems the vote Michael Sean Winters was referring to in our last post was this second vote.
In the comments box on Winters' post, Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee updates the status of the health bill with respect to the inclusion of abortion coverage:
I am the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), and I can shed some additional light on this topic. Currently, the Kennedy bill and the House Democratic leadership bill both contain provisions that certainly will result in federal mandates that virtually ALL health plans pay for abortion, and that nearly all health networks establish abortion providers. Both bills will also result in massive federal funding of elective abortion.
Senator Durbin has a well-earned reputation for duplicity and his comment that the Hyde Amendment is ''settled law'' is a good example - the Hyde Amendment is not a permanent law at all, but merely a year-by-year patch to the annual HHS funding bill. Moreover, the Kennedy and House Democratic health-care bills set up pools of money that would not be subject to the Hyde Amendment even in the short run. That is why Senator Hatch offered a ''permanent Hyde Amendment'' to the Kennedy bill yesterday - an amendment voted down by every Democrat on the HELP Committee, except Sen. Casey.
By identical votes, the HELP Committee also rejected amendments to prevent the bill from mandating coverage and access to abortion, and to protect state pro-life laws from being overridden. A bill to protect health-care providers from being forced to participate in providing abortions (the Coburn Amendent) was also voted down. The committee Democrats instead adopted a phony, ultra-narrow ''conscience'' provision offered in the name of Sen. Kennedy.
The pro-abortion groups, such as NARAL and Planned Panrehtood, understand very well that these bills would mandate universal coverage and universal local ''access'' to abortion, with federal funding, and they are lobbying aggressively to keep it that way. We have posted numerous statements from these groups on our website at [url=http://www.nrlc.org]www.nrlc.org[/url]. For example, the president of Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider) recently said that the reform legislation was a ''platform'' to expand abortion ''access'' to ''all women''.
As currently written, these bills would result in the biggest expansion of abortion access since Roe v. Wade. This legislation poses mortal peril to the unborn and it is on a fast track.
Seems like we need a lot more prolife dems like Winters to stand up and say that including abortion in the health care bill is a relationship killer.