The National Right to Life Committee and the Conference of Catholic Bishops have come out strongly against proposed language by Sen. Bob Casey aimed at mollifying Sen. Ben Nelson's concerns that the health care bill would provide taxpayer subsidies toward abortion coverage.
In a letter to Casey (PDF), the NRLC wrote that "your proposal completely fails to correct any of the major pro-abortion provisions in the underlying Reid bill. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation strongly oppose the language you have proposed regarding federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion on demand. We believe that your proposed language in no way improves the highly objectionable provisions of the Reid bill that authorize subsidies for health plans that cover elective abortion, and that authorize federal mandates for private health plans to cover elective abortion, as described below."
It went on to say that "the Nelson-Hatch (Stupak-Pitts) language is the only acceptable solution to the far-reaching pro-abortion problems in the Reid bill."
The Conference of Catholic Bishops reached the same conclusion, reiterating that the abortion language would still be "morally unacceptable."
"Despite repeated claims to the contrary, it does not comply with longstanding Hyde restrictions on federal funding of elective abortions and health plans that include them,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said of the Casey proposal in a statement.
Nelson has said repeatedly that he could not vote for cloture on the bill if it did not include abortion language akin to the Stupak language that passed in the House, and these harsh responses from anti-abortion groups won't make it any easier to forge a deal.
And in order to keep to his tight deadline to pass a health care bill on Christmas Eve, Reid will have to satisfy Nelson's concerns on abortion by midnight tomorrow.
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