The health care bill in the House, H.R. 3962, is in desperate need of votes, and pro-life congressmen are sitting on their hands demanding the legislation have stringent pro-life language which would keep federal money from funding abortions. Similar to the Hyde Amendment, which bars tax-payer money from funding abortions under the Department of Health and Human Services programs, the Stupak-Pitts amendment would accomplish the same under H.R. 3962.
Rep.Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) told reporters the pro-choice caucus is furious and will do everything it can to defeat the amendment.:
“This all happened last night. The Stupak –Pitts amendment pretty much makes a legal medical procedure unavailable to most or all women in the exchange…even with their own money, and this is a vast expansion of choice restrictions. It is probably the biggest restriction of a woman’s right to choose that will be considered on the House floor in my career. The Pro-choice caucus is adamantly opposed to it. We’re whipping against it, and we’re going try to defeat the amendment.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D- Calif.), however, told reporters the final passage of the bill was “too important” to not go forward:
“I think this bill is too important. This is a fundamental change some of us have been working on our whole careers to accomplish, and I think we’ve got to keep moving this forward.”
The bill would have the support of the nation’s Catholic bishops as long as the Stupak-Pitts amendment was part of the final passage of the bill, according to Mr. Waxman
Mr. Waxman also pointed out that differences could be resolved later on if the bill is passed and goes to conference with the Senate’s version.:
“The bill, if it passes, will be up in conference with what the Senate passes, and then we will have to work there to resolve differences and to fashion one bill that we will then kick back to our respective chambers to get the president to sign after we pass it.”