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US Senate committee rejects bid to bar abortion funding in health-care reform

Catholic World News - September 30, 2009

In a key test of pro-life voting strength, the US Senate's finance committee on September 30 rejected an amendment to prohibit funding of abortion in the proposed health-care reform plan. By a 13-10 vote, the committee rejected the amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch, which stipulated that no funds provided by the reform proposal could be sued for "any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion."

Senator Max Baucus, the chief sponsor of the reform plan, insisted that the legislation as it stands does not allow for federal funding of abortion. (Most media outlets accepted that assertion, and headlines suggested that the Hatch amendment would have "tightened" or "imposed further restrictions" or "stronger" language prohibiting abortion funding.)

But pro-life activists note that the reform plan would subsidize health-insurance scheme that include abortion coverage. Hatch noted that his amendment would have brought the health-care reform proposal into line with existing legislation that bars federal funding for abortion. Hatch argued: "All I'm asking-- my gosh!-- is for specific language in the bill that prohibits federal dollars from being used to fund abortions."

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