Abortion Emerges as Top Bill Threat
WASHINGTON — Antiabortion lawmakers in the Senate plan to introduce an amendment as soon as Monday to restrict insurance coverage of abortion in the health bill, setting up a showdown that has no clear path to resolution.
Both sides agree the amendment likely doesn’t have enough votes to pass, but antiabortion groups and Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) say they will continue insisting on tough language as a condition for supporting the overall bill.The lack of a clear meeting point makes abortion somewhat different from the other top obstacle to the bill’s passage, the publicly run insurance plan that some Democrats oppose. There, both sides are weighing a handful of compromises.
On abortion, said Sen. Nelson, “it’s certainly not a lock that there’s language in the middle.”
As it stands now, the Senate health bill would include abortion coverage in the new public plan and would allow women who receive government tax credits for insurance to enroll in a plan that covers the procedure. The tax credit would be segregated so none of it could go toward funding abortion.
Antiabortion advocates say that’s too lenient and want to prevent any insurance plan that receives federal funding from covering the procedure, except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.
Abortion in the Senate Bill