House Democratic leaders are proposing a rule for the current House version of the health care reform bill – HR 3962.  This rule will insert language written by Congressman Brad Ellsworth (D-IN).  It would also exclude a House vote on an amendment that has been proposed by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI).

National Right to Life issued a statement regarding Ellsworth Amendment:

Any House member who votes for the Pelosi rule is voting to establish a federal government insurance plan, the public option, that the bill explicitly authorizes to pay for all elective abortions.  When a federal agency pays for abortions, that is federal funding of abortion in reality, whatever contrived labels Speaker Pelosi or her acolytes slap over it.  The Ellsworth language is a political fig leaf made out of cellophane — it directs the federal Secretary of Health to hire a contractor to deliver to abortion providers the payments for elective abortions, payments that are explicitly authorized by the bill [on page 110].  This is a money-laundering scheme — a federally funded ‘bag man’ will deliver government funds to abortionists.  This is federal funding of elective abortion.

From pg. 110 in the bill:

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the public health insurance option from providing for or prohibiting coverage of services described in paragraph (4)(A).

Then it lists abortion services.  What the Ellsworth Amendment will do is just funnel money to private contractors.  It also blocks the true pro-life amendment written by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI).  The Evansville Courier & Press reports:

Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and co-chairman of the Congressional Right to Life Caucus to which Ellsworth belongs, seeks to forbid a public insurance option from covering elective abortions and subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortions.

The Stupak amendment would strike the bill’s "Nothing in this Act shall be construed" language.

But House leaders will not allow a floor vote on Stupak’s amendment, so he has threatened to line up at least 40 anti-abortion Democrats to vote against the rule governing debate on the bill.

With Republican votes, that would be enough to defeat the rule — meaning the health care reform bill could not go to the floor for a vote and Democratic leaders presumably would have to negotiate with Stupak.

(HT: Kim Lehman)

So pro-life Democrats may sink this bill.  Let me be clear that this bill is a piece of garbage even with the Stupak amendment, but it is unconscionable to pass it without.

Postscript: Bob Vander Plaats had the Stop the Abortion Mandate Ad up on his blog this morning:

My friend Noah Braymen shared with me the following email from The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention as they are positioning for a vote on Sunday Saturday:

Speaker Pelosi has signaled she will not allow any amendments to the bill. This is an outrage—especially since the government is positioning itself to help pay for the abortions of countless innocent unborn babies in the name of health care.

If you agree, I encourage you to contact your representative today and ask him or her to do two things:

  1. Vote “no” on the Rule that will guide House action on the bill. As it is currently written, the Rule will not allow members to offer amendments on many of these concerns we have about the bill.
  2. Vote “no” on the bill because it is so deeply flawed.

You can call your representative by dialing the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or send an e-mail here.

Thank you for making your voice heard in this critical hour.

She’s also breaking her 72-hour pledge.  Also, if you have time spend some time targeting some Blue Dog Democrats.  Thanks for the list Noah!

Update: Vote on this will be tomorrow.

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