Initial Reports Indicate No Stupak Amendment in Reid’s Senate Bill

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

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Initial Reports Indicate No Stupak Amendment in Reid’s Senate Bill

Jodi Jacobson

Early indications are that the Senate health reform bill introduced by Majority Leader Harry Reid preserves the "status quo" and does not include a version of the Stupak amendment.

This post was updated at 10:47 p.m. Wednesday, November 18th to include links to articles at other sites covering the Senate health reform bill. Links can be found below.

Based on information available as of this writing, the health reform bill unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not contain language similar to the Stupak amendment.

The Hill notes:

An existing law, known as the Hyde amendment, already prohibits federal money from paying for abortions except in cases or rape or incest or when the woman’s life is endangered. Anti-abortion-rights lawmakers, however, argued that the House bill and the measures approved by two Senate committees would have circumvented that law.

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The article quotes Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), who is pro-choice, as saying Reid’s new provisions would preserve the Hyde amendment while enabling people to buy insurance plans with abortion coverage on the exchange.

“We’re basically going to keep current law, which is what we ought to do,” Kerry said after the Democratic caucus meeting.

Another article by Huffington Post reports:

The health care reform package unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Wednesday night bars the use of federal funds for abortion services, but does not go as far as the House bill — which prevents women in many cases from buying insurance with their own money that covers abortion.

The Senate version would require at least one plan within the health insurance exchange that the bill sets up to offer a plan that covers abortion and one that doesn’t. It would also authorize the Health and Human Services Secretary to audit plans to make certain that abortion isn’t being paid for with federal dollars.

In a statement shared by her office with RH RealityCheck, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), author of the original Capps amendment in the House bill, said:

“I am pleased that the Senate has adopted a reasonable, common ground approach on this difficult question. It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill. It ensures that federal funds do not pay for abortions but allows continued access to this legal medical procedure. This is a bill about health insurance reform not about expanding or contracting access to abortion services. I am glad that the Senate has rejected the more extreme Stupak language and look forward to continuing to work with my pro-life and pro-choice colleagues on a reasonable compromise on this issue.”

Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak worked with other anti-choice Democrats and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to insert a new amendment into the House health care bill that, if signed into law, would dramatically alter women’s access to insurance coverage for abortion care.

Links to other articles:

Details of Senate HCR Bill Emerge, Reconciliation On The Table, Daily Kos – Joan McCarter

Senate Opt-Out Public Option Won’t Start Until 2014, And Won’t Cover Abortion Procedures, Open Left – Chris Bowers

Reid Outlines Bill For Caucus, Warns Conservative Dems That Reconciliation Is Still An Option, TPMDC – Brian Beutler

Health Bill CBO Score: $849 Billion Over Next Decade, HuffPost – Sam Stein

Reid: ‘We’re Real Proud Of These Figures’, TPMDC – Brian Beutler

Senate Health Care Bill Covers 94%, Costs $849B, Reduces Deficit By $127B, All Over 10 Years, OpenLeft – Chris Bowers

CBO Says Senate Health Bill Would Cover 94% of Americans, Sharply Reduce the Deficit, Think Progress – Matt Yglesias

CBO: Senate Bill Cuts $127 Billion From Deficit In First, Decade, Covers 31 Million, – Ezra Klein

Reid’s Bill Includes Public Option With Opt-Out And Tax On “Cadillac Plans”, AMERICAblog – Joe Sudbay

First Look At The Senate Bill (Updated), The New Republic: The Treatment, Jonathan Cohn

CBO: Health Reform Reduces Deficit By $777B/20 Years, MyDD – Jonathan Singer