Sen Mike Johanns, “those who say they are pro-life but refuse to take that stand, I worry are not standing up for life. ”

Fox News: November 19, 2009
Pro-life Senator Challenges Dems on Abortion

Sen Mike Johanns, R-NE, laid a challenge at the feet of the small handful of pro-life Democrats in the Senate, saying just one needs to come forward and vote against proceeding to the Senate Democratic leader’s healthcare reform bill, one Johanns declared inadequate in ensuring that no federal funds can be spent on abortion.

“We don’t need 40 Democrats to stand up for what’s right. We need just one. if just one pro-life Democrat would say i will not vote to move this bill until it’s fixed, until it’s truly pro-life, that would happen. So those who say they are pro-life but refuse to take that stand, I worry are not standing up for life. ”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, attempted to fence off federal money from covering abortion in his bill, but pro-life critics say the effort fails. The HHS Secretary is to ensure that each state has one private plan that covers abortion in the state-based healthcare exchanges. The public option is not permitted to cover the procedure.

But those who oppose abortion want to see the stricter language that passed in the House – where abortions are not permitted in plans on the new exchanges where federal subsidies might be used to buy abortion coverage.

A new Pew poll showed that only three percent of Americans who oppose the Democrats healthcare legislation do so because of abortion, still it was an issue that nearly brought the House healthcare bill down.

Johanns issued a challenge that surely had his senior colleague from his home state, Dem Sen Ben Nelson, in mind, saying that merely voting to proceed just to try to change the bill was unacceptable.

Nelson said as much in a statement Wednesday night, that merely voting to proceed was not a vote of support for the bill, rather it was a vote in favor of moving forward and trying to make changes.

Johanns said he believes there are not the necessary 60 votes to strip out what he sees as offensive abortion language.

“I ask for a pro-life senator to come down here and stand up on this bill. Pro-life Americans are waiting, and they aren’t fooled.”

Pro-Life Groups: Reid’s Senate Health Care Bill Contains Massive Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 19, 2009
Washington, DC ( — Two leading pro-life organizations that have analyzed the new 2,000-page government-run health care bill released by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid late yesterday say the legislation contains massive abortion funding and a fake amendment that does not truly ban it.

The Senate health care bill does not contain the Stupak amendment the House approved that stops abortion funding under the public option and affordability credits.

Instead, the measure contains a slightly-reworded version of the much-maligned Capps amendment, which a House committee approved on a partisan vote and which pro-life groups say is an accounting scheme to hide government-funded abortions.

“Reid has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs,” National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson assured late Wednesday.

“Reid seeks to cover elective abortions in two big new federal health programs, but tries to conceal that unpopular reality with layers of contrived definitions and hollow bookkeeping requirements,” he continued.

Rep. Lois Capps, whose amendment was deleted when the House adopted the Stupak language, has applauded Reid’s language.

“It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill,” she said in a statement.

Johnson notes that Reid’s bill establishes the public option and authorizes (on page 118) the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program.

“This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it,” he says.

He also says the bill creates the affordability credits — new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans — and that these government-funded credits can be used to purchase health insurance plans that directly pay for abortions.

Attorney Mary Harned of Americans United for Life, has also examined the abortion sections of Reid’s new measure, which she says “provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally-funded abortion. ”

“The bill includes pro-abortion language and mirrors the false compromise Capps Amendment from the House debate — it allows the public option to include abortion coverage and provides federal subsidies for private plans which cover abortion,” she said.

Harned says the bill does not reflect the principles of the Hyde amendment, which, since the 1970s, has been used to stop taxpayer funded abortions under Medicaid,

Instead, she points out how pages 116 through 124 in Senator Reid’s new health care bill will require a plan that covers abortion in every insurance market, allow HHS to cover abortions through the public option, and create new tax-funded subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, has said he will offer an amendment to the bill that will read much like the Stupak measure in attempting to ban abortion funding.

However, Hatch will need 60 votes to move past a pro-abortion filibuster of his amendment and he will not likely get a sufficient number supporting his amendment. As a result, pro-life groups are likely to increase their efforts to oppose the entire bill because of the abortion funding as well as rationing and end-of-life concerns.

Reid’s release of the bill comes after a new CNN poll showing a strong majority of Americans oppose government funding of abortions and oppose all or most abortions.

Sen. Reid’s Government-Run Health Plan Requires a Monthly Abortion Fee

Posted by GOP Leader Press Office on November 19th, 2009

Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan.

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan. Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.” The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.

Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange. The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.

A majority of Americans believe that health care plans should not be mandated to provide elective abortion coverage, and a majority of Americans do not believe government health care plans should include abortion coverage. Currently, federal appropriations bills include language known as the Hyde Amendment that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while another provision, known as the Smith Amendment, prohibits federal funding of abortion under the federal employees’ health benefits plan.

Leader Reid’s 2,074-page health care monstrosity is an affront to the American people and drastically moves away from current policy. The National Right to Life Committee has called the Reid abortion language “completely unacceptable.” The American people deserve more from their government than being forced to pay for abortion. The pro-life Stupak/Pitts amendment passed the House by a vote of 240 to 194, enjoying the overwhelming support of 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats. The Stupak/Pitts Amendment codifies current law by prohibiting federal funding of elective abortions under any government-run plan or plans available under the Exchange. The Reid plan ignores the will of a bipartisan majority of the House, and indeed the American people, by rejecting this bipartisan amendment.

Health care reform should not be used as an opportunity to use federal funds to pay for elective abortions. Health reform should be an opportunity to protect human life – not end it – and the American people agree. House Republicans have offered a common-sense, responsible solution that would reduce health care costs and expand access while protecting the dignity of all human life. The Republican plan, available at, would codify the Hyde Amendment and prohibit all authorized and appropriated federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. And under the Republican plan, any health plan that includes abortion coverage may not receive federal funds.

UPDATED: Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans reject government funding of abortion.

CNN Poll: 61% Oppose Tax-Funded Abortions, 63% Oppose All or Most Abortions
by Steven Ertelt Editor November 18, 2009

Washington, DC ( — As Congress remains embroiled in a massive debate over whether to force Americans to pay for abortions through the new government-run health care programs, a new CNN poll finds 61 percent oppose government funding abortions with public dollars.

The poll found six in ten Americans favor a ban on using federal funds for abortions, such as the Stupak amendment recently added to the health care bill in the House.

The new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today shows 61 percent oppose taxpayer funding of abortions while just 37 percent are supportive.

The CNN poll goes further and finds that a majority of Americans, by a 51 to 45 percent margin, believe women should be required to use their own money to pay for abortions even if they have private health insurance and no government money is involved. They did not think health insurance should pay for abortions.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said that the poll results show “for most Americans, potential restrictions on abortion may not be a dealbreaker” in supporting the health care bill.

The CNN survey has important implications for Congress as the Senate begins debating a bill that will likely fund abortions and as pro-abortion President Barack Obama threatens to yank the abortion funding ban from the House bill.

The poll also asked a vague question about when Americans support or oppose abortions.

The question, “Do you think abortion should be legal in most circumstances or only a few circumstances?” doesn’t lend itself to any constructive analysis because it does not spell out what circumstances constitute “most” or “a few.” Other polls breaking down when women have abortions find about 55 percent of Americans oppose 98 percent of all abortions.

In the new CNN survey, 26 percent said abortions should be legal under any circumstances, 23 percent said abortions should be illegal under any circumstances and 50 percent said they should only be legal under certain circumstances.

If those certain circumstances are defined as the very rare cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy, then 73 percent of Americans oppose 98 percent of the 1.2 million abortions that take place every year in the United States.
A second CNN question validates that contention.

It found 63 percent of Americans say abortion should be illegal in all cases or only in a few cases while just 36 percent say abortion should be legal in most cases or in all cases.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone.

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