Pro-choice members of the House are in revolt tonight, threatening to kill the health care bill after Nancy Pelosi agreed to give Bart Stupak a vote on a concurrent resolution which would tie his language on abortion to the Senate bill and substitute it for the Nelson language.
Marcia Pappas, President of New York Now, released an open letter encouraging the women in Congress to oppose the deal:
March 19, 2010
An open letter to every woman in Congress:
Today, women in the United States are fighting for their lives. You must fight too! A woman’s right to have safe and legal abortion is about to be traded away.
We are asking all of you fight like you have never fought before. Tonight, It has become clear that the our Democratic President Obama, Democratic Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) and Democratic Leader (Harry Reid) are trading away women’s lives.
Every woman in Congress should MAKE HISTORY AND WALK OUT ! This is your chance to stand up for what is right! Forget politics, forget saving your seat! You must take a chance!
If you sit back and allow the passage of the health care bill with “Stupak,” women in America will not vote for another Democrat…..myself included. Because there will essentially be no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.
What will it be? Will you all go down in history following the boys, or will you finally stand up for what is right? It’s up to all of you. We elected you because we believed that having women at the table would make a difference. Don’t let us down.
Marcia A. Pappas
According to The Hill, “were the resolution to pass the House, it would instruct the Senate clerk to change the healthcare bill to reflect Stupak’s more restrictive language to prohibit federal dollars from going toward abortion coverage.”
There were 41 members of Congress who signed Diana DeGette’s letter saying “we will not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law.” Although the language in the Senate bill most certainly goes way beyond current law, the members have thus far stayed silent and DeGette has not released the names on the letter.
Jan Schakowsky, Mike Capuano, Mike Quigley, Carolyn Maloney, Judy Chu and Louise Slaughter have publicly said that they signed the letter. Betsy Markey and Anne Kirkpatrick are also signatories.
As I mentioned this morning, abortion would not be an issue in the “Plan B” alternative that the White House was contemplating three weeks ago, which would evidently expand existing programs — Medicaid and SCHIP. It would cover half the people at a quarter of the price, but it would not include the politically toxic mandate that threatens to trigger nationwide opposition in the form of 2010 ballot amendments. Because it creates no new infrastructure for the purpose of funneling money to private insurance companies, there is no need for either Bart Stupak’s or Ben Nelson’s language dealing with abortion — which satisfies the concerns of both pro-choice and anti-choice members of Congress.
Both programs are already covered under existing law, the Hyde amendment.