.- On Thursday, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) commented that he and his 11 Democratic allies within the House are prepared to strike down health care reform plans if they contain any provisions for federally funded abortions.
In his remarks to ABC's "Good Morning America," the Michigan congressman said, “Yes. We're prepared to take responsibility” if the health care bill fails because of his group's opposition to abortion provisions in the Senate bill.
“Let's face it,” he added. “I want to see health care. But we're not going to bypass the principles of belief that we feel strongly about.”
Although Rep. Stupak is satisfied with the current House bill, given his amendment to it that prevents federally funding abortions, he has been vocal in his opposition to the Senate bill. The representative stated on Feb. 23 that the Senate bill is “unacceptable” on the issue of abortion.
The White House has claimed, however, that the Senate health care bill will not change U.S. law on abortion or alter the status quo. “The president is not and will not change current federal law in dealing with abortions and healthcare,” asserted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Thursday.
In spite of the White House's insistence, the U.S. bishops disagree.
Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of the U.S. bishops Pro-life Secretariat, told CNSNews.com that the “abortion problems in the Senate bill are so serious that, despite our strong support for expanding access to health care, we will have to oppose the bill unless they are resolved.”
According to Doerflinger, the Senate health care bill contains some language limiting the direct use to subsidize abortion coverage, but still violates “longstanding precedent on abortion funding.”
The Senate bill limits only the use of tax credits for abortion in qualified health plans, and not other funding in the bill.
Doerflinger cited the $7 billion for services at community health centers, whose funding is increased to $11 billion in President Obama’s proposal.
“The Hyde amendment does not prevent direct use of these billions of dollars for elective abortions (because the funds are not provided through the appropriations bill governed by Hyde), nor does any provision in the Senate bill,” he told CNSNews.com.