Representative John Fleming M.D. issued the following statement following the Senate's vote to kill the Nelson/Hatch pro-life amendment.
"As currently written, the Senate health care bill provides for the taxpayer funding of abortions through multiple avenues. As a father, a physician, a Christian and a Member of Congress, I want to be very clear about this -- the taking of innocent life is not health care. Without specific provisions similar to the Stupak/Pitts amendment which prevents government funded abortions in the House version, we will be facing a de facto mandate that will drastically increase the number of on-demand abortions performed throughout this country.
The Senate's failure to adopt this crucial amendment sets up a scenario where the House may be forced to drop its pro-life provision in its healthcare bill. I am very worried that Reid and Pelosi will now pull a back room shenanigan that undoes our strong pro-life vote in the House last month. Any Senator who voted to table this amendment is not a friend of the pro-life cause."
Yesterday, the Senate voted to table the Nelson/Hatch pro-life amendment by a vote of 54 to 45. Under the proposed Senate health care legislation, virtually every individual will be required to have health care coverage that meets "minimum benefits standards" established by the administration. Those minimum benefits will include abortion unless Congress acts to explicitly exclude abortion from any government mandated coverage or taxpayer funded health plan. Judicial experience with federal statutes demonstrates that if abortion is not explicitly excluded, administrative agencies and the courts will mandate it. Additionally, the Senate language explicitly authorizes the Secretary to include abortion in the public option and permits government subsidies for plans that pay for abortion. The Nelson/Hatch amendment would have changed the language to prohibit government-funding of abortions. On Saturday, November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Stupak/Pitts amendment by a vote of 240-196. This amendment altered the language in the House bill to ensure that no taxpayer funds are used--either directly or indirectly--for abortion.
John Fleming is a physician and small business owner and represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana. He is a member of the House Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees.