Senators preserve path to expand govt abortion funding

Does ObamaCare mean that the government subsidizes abortions, or doesn't it? And if it doesn't, then why did senators just vote down an amendment to the bill that bars the government from paying for abortions under the proposed new health insurance framework, except under the rare circumstances already permitted under current law?

President Obama has unequivocally promised that his reforms will not create new government funding for abortion. But FactCheck.org has looked askance at Obama's promise on this all along. They note that the bill, as written in the House, at least, will indeed subsidize coverage of abortions, creating a more liberal funding regime than what currently exists. The Senate Finance bill does not contain a different provision — in fact, the Finance Committee is voting on “concepts” with an aim of writing the actual legislative language later. (This is an odd but not unprecedented way of crafting a bill.)

Today, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's amendment, which would have preserved the status quo for federal abortion funding — permitted only to save a mother's life or in cases of rape or incest — was rejected on a 13-10 vote in the finance committee. All of the committee Democrats except Sen. Kent Conrad, N.D., voted against it. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the only Republican to vote against it.

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