The health care bill being debated at the Capitol building today has changed in important ways since its emergence. Pro-choice activists are sounding the alarm over the Stupak amendment, named after Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). The last-minute compromise will prohibit insurance coverage of elective abortions for anyone receiving federal aid.
Abortion-rights supporters in the House were frustrated by the concession to 40 anti-abortion democrats who indicated they wouldn't vote for H.R. 3962 unless the current provisions were changed. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) told Politico "pro-choice members are not happy this morning."
Bart Stupak, on the other hand, is pleased with the amendment's success, claiming that he has 225 votes, including almost every single Republican.
Though the vast majority of House democrats are supporters of abortion rights, Nancy Pelosi told reporters she believes that her pro-choice peers will support the bill with the amended language on abortion.
The leader of the Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation, Darcy Burner, released a video speaking out against the Stupak amendment. "Women who find they have cancer while they are pregnant won't get the choice of how to proceed, but those choices will instead be made by politicians in Washington, DC," Burner said. "The idea that we would throw women under the bus in the process of doing health care reform is completely unacceptable."
With the language of the bill as it is now, anyone would be able to buy private policies covering abortions. Critics like Ezra Klein at the Washington Post believe that this system will effectively outlaw abortion for those who simply can't afford it.
McClatchy News reports that representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were involved in the talks.
Darcy Burner's video can be found here.