NARAL Pro-Choice America wants to know why Representative Bart Stupak and Senator Ben Nelson want to place more restrictions on abortion coverage. But Senator Barbara Mikulski says it doesn't matter: "I know I'm not voting for Stupak."
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said he expected that all but a few Republicans would support the Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb) amendment, which would restrict access to abortions for women who receive federal subsidies.
But the amendment is likely to be subject to the Senate's 60-vote threshold, and Kyl does not expect 20 votes on the other side to back the controversial change.
"Most Republicans will but I don't think that will be enough to carry it through, it's a 60-vote margin," Kyl told The Hill Thursday afternoon.
Republicans control only 40 seats, which means Nelson would have to pick up the support of at least 19 Democrats (or 18 plus one of two independents), an unlikely scenario given strong opposition from the Democratic base.
The Republicans are shaking the filibuster stick, but in the immortal words of the Rock and Wyclef Jean: it doesn't matter!
Now, this doesn't mean that advocates for choice can rest on their laurels. Far from it. The new battle being waged is over Sen. Barbara Mikulski's amendment that ensures preventive care and screening:
The Mikulski "women's health amendment" to the Senate healthcare reform bill didn't include the word abortion. But opponents of abortion allege the amendment, which was passed today, leaves the door open for the Health Resources and Services Administration to include abortion as "preventive care" in its guidelines and therefore guarantee no-cost coverage for the procedure.
"Because today's bill as written has no exclusion for abortion in its language, there is no doubt that Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski's amendment opens the floodgates to massive public underwriting of abortion, a position Planned Parenthood has always favored," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement. "Without the adoption of 'Stupak-Pitts' amendment language in the Senate version of the bill, it's now very clear that taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions."
It's always something.