Yesterday, the Senate rejected the restrictive anti-choice amendment Sen. Ben Nelson sought to add to health care reform legislation.
Not surprisingly, the Religious Right is not pleased.
“Nelson-Hatch was a reasonable amendment that does one thing: ensures federal funds are not spent on elective abortions. What the government funds, we get more of. Without this amendment, the health care bill will violate two of Pres. Obama’s promises: that the bill will not fund abortion and that he will work to reduce abortions.
“Since abortion costs less than delivery of a baby, it is not unlikely that bureaucrats, facing pressure to reduce costs, will sign off on paying for abortion but not for the health care that pregnant women and their babies need. This could lead to women being coerced into abortion by their own government.
“The Senate bill is now at odds with the House version, which prohibits funding of elective abortions.
“Federal funding of abortion will increase the number of abortions and lead to higher health care costs for women who suffer complications, such as hemorrhaging, infection, subsequent premature births, and psychological issues.
“If more children are aborted, who will pay for this massive government entitlement when it balloons in 20 years?”
“Tonight Senator Reid invoked Henry Clay, posing as a great compromiser even as he denied the consciences of the majority of Americans. Yet Clay himself would have never blanched at Nelson’s amendment, a commonsense proposal backed by 61% of America. You can’t find greater common ground than the decision to restrict government funding for abortion on-demand. With his actions tonight, Harry Reid has effectively tabled the common ground.
“Senator Reid’s tabling of the pro-life Nelson Amendment is just the latest reason why incumbents like Harry Reid are becoming top political targets: the disconnect between their words and actions inspire a rising populist opposition. Senator Reid calls himself pro-life, yet he continues to advance the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade at taxpayers’ expense.
“As it stands today, there should be no question about opposing the Senate health care bill. If you call yourself pro-life and genuinely care about preserving true common ground, you cannot possibly vote for this bill. Pro-Life senators – the sponsors of Nelson’s amendment included – must oppose this legislation.
“As the debate continues, on behalf of the 280,000 pro-life Susan B. Anthony List members and activists nationwide, I call on Senator Casey to follow the unyielding leadership of his father, former Governor Bob Casey. Senator Casey and his Democratic colleagues now have the opportunity to honor the consistent pro-life ethic of his father.”
“Today, the U.S. Senate failed to protect the preborn and ignored the will of the people they represent.
“Although 67 percent of Americans oppose the use of federal money to pay for abortion in any government-run healthcare, Senators nevertheless rejected the Hatch-Nelson amendment. Their vote would compel Americans who have moral and religious objects to abortion – and who now make up the majority of the country – to fund it. This is what Thomas Jefferson described as ‘tyrannical.’
“Focus on the Family continues to oppose the health care bill because it fails to protect the most vulnerable among us – the preborn. We will keep working diligently to ensure that this faulty legislation does not pass by giving a voice to the millions of Americans who oppose the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented on the Senate’s vote on the Nelson Amendment to the health care bill. “Those in the Senate who rejected this Amendment have voted to let their attachment to the abortion industry interfere with health care reform in this country. These Senators could have listened to their constituents and opposed abortion funding. Instead, they are allowing this effort at reform to be hijacked by abortion extremists.”
“The vote reflects a callous disregard for the protection of innocent human life,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It is clear most Americans do not want abortion classified as a mandatory health care benefit. The House understood this in passing the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Sadly, the Senate chose to ignore the concerns of the American people and refused to approve an Amendment that would have put into place much-needed pro-life protections in the Senate’s version of health care reform. Rejecting this Amendment is disappointing, but not surprising.”
“With this vote, we now call on pro-life Democrats – including Sen. Nelson, co-sponsor of the Amendment, to follow through with the promise to reject the Senate’s health care measure because it fails to exclude abortion funding,” added Sekulow.
“The battle over health care reform is far from over. We will continue to oppose the Senate’s health care bill and continue to work to ensure that a final version of health care to be considered at some point by Congress includes the pro-life protections so many Americans demand.”