Abortion restrictions in health care bill rejected by Senate
The Senate voted 54-45, on Tuesday, to strike down an amendment by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah that sought to ban taxpayer funding of abortions under the Democrat's health care reform bill..
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. said, "This amendment would place an unprecedented restriction on a woman's right to use her own money to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion."
Health insurance coverage for abortions is included in the current Senate bill, however the bill requires abortion coverage to be paid for with private money and any funds used for abortions to be separate from taxpayer funds.
According to today's Washington Times, Sen. Nelson called the separation of funds in the bill an accounting gimmick and said, "The reality is federal funds would help buy coverage that includes abortion."
Seven Democrats supported the stiffer restrictions, while two Republicans -- Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe-- voted with the Democrats. In the House, anti-abortion Democrats have threatened to vote against any final bill that dilutes the restrictions already approved in their bill.
The vote came as Senate Democrats remained at odds on the issue of creating a new government insurance plan -- with time running out to pass Obama's health care remake by Christmas.
The latest public plan idea bears little resemblance to the original proposed by liberals, and embraced by Obama, during the 2008 presidential campaign. That called for the government to sell insurance to workers and their families in competition with industry giants like UnitedHealthcare.
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Omaha, Nebraska, United States