Pro-life Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak has said he can block proposed health care reform legislation unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) allows a vote on a Hyde Amendment to the bill.
The Hyde Amendment, named after the late U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions. The current health care bill, H.R. 3200, is under fire for measures that allow federal funds to circumvent the Hyde Amendment and also mandate insurance coverage of abortion.
Rep. Stupak of Michigan claimed he has as many as 39 Democratic allies who could join Republicans to block the complete legislation from coming to a vote unless the House leadership allows a vote on a Hyde Amendment.
“If you don’t give us a vote, everything is off the table,” he said in an interview with CBN. He added that he didn’t want any “backdoor policies” on abortion.
Rep. Stupak explained that he was “very cautious” on the matter because any “right-to-life riders” pro-lifers have sought to add to prevent abortion funding have been denied or have had their language “watered down” under the current administration.
“We want to see the language [of the bill], we want to work with pro-life groups, we want to make sure we’re doing everything right,” he told CBN.
The proposed House bill is a “drastic change” from past national policy on public funding for abortion, Stupak remarked, adding that he did not want to jeopardize the “sanctity of life” both at its beginning and at its end.
Rep. Stupak also said he would not vote for the final bill unless he thoroughly reviewed it.