Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) promised that his abortion amendment would be “as identical to Stupak as it can be,” and one key women’s rights groups says he’s made good on his promise.
“As with Stupak-Pitts, this amendment would restrict abortion coverage well beyond the status quo and could have profound implications even for coverage in the private market, paid for with private funds,” emails Adam Sonfield, senior public policy associate of the Guttmacher Institute. “It also, like the Stupak-Pitts amendment, takes what had been even-handed language respecting and protecting the conscience of providers on both sides of the abortion divide and turns it into biased language that allows for discrimination against health care providers willing to provide or refer for abortions.”
So there you have it. Now the questions is what happens if it fails somehow? Nelson has threatened to join a filibuster of the health care bill if his language isn’t adopted. Will he make good on that promise? Or will a new round of negotiations begin. If Nelson defected, it could dramatically impact the course of negotiations over the public option and, indeed, imperil the legislation. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this. You can read the language of the Nelson amendment below the fold.
Purpose: To prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions.
H. R. 3590
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes.
Referred to the Committee on __________ and ordered to be printed
Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed
Amendment intended to be proposed by Mr. Nelson of Nebraska (for himself, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Casey, Mr. Brownback, Mr. Thune, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Coburn, Mr. Johanns, Mr. Vitter and Mr. Barrasso) to the amendment (No. 2786) proposed by Mr. Reid
Beginning on page 116, strike line 15 and all that follows through line 15 on page 123, and insert the following:
(a) Special Rules Relating to Coverage of Abortion Services.–
(1) In general.–Subject to paragraph (2), nothing in this Act (or any amendment made by this Act) shall be construed to require any health plan to provide coverage of abortion services or to allow the Secretary or any other person or entity implementing this Act (or amendment) to require coverage of such services.
(2) Community health insurance option.–The Secretary may not provide coverage of abortion services in the community health insurance option established under section 1323, except in the case where use of funds authorized or appropriated by this Act is permitted for such services under subsection (b)(1).
(3) No discrimination on the basis of provision of abortion.–No Exchange participating health benefits plan may discriminate against any individual health care provider or health care facility because of its unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
(b) Limitation on Abortion Funding.–
(1) In general.–No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
(2) Option to purchase separate supplemental coverage or plan.–Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting any non-Federal entity (including an individual or a State or local government) from purchasing separate supplemental coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as–
(A) such coverage or plan is paid for entirely using only funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act; and
(B) such coverage or plan is not purchased using–
(i) individual premium payments required for a qualified health plan offered through the Exchange towards which a credit is applied under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
(ii) other non-Federal funds required to receive a Federal payment, including a State’s or locality’s contribution of Medicaid matching funds.
(3) Option to offer supplemental coverage or plan.–Nothing in this subsection shall restrict any non-Federal health insurance issuer offering a qualified health plan from offering separate supplemental coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as–
(A) premiums for such separate supplemental coverage or plan are paid for entirely with funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act;
(B) administrative costs and all services offered through such supplemental coverage or plan are paid for using only premiums collected for such coverage or plan; and
(C) any such non-Federal health insurance issuer that offers a qualified health plan through the Exchange that includes coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection also offers a qualified health plan through the Exchange that is identical in every respect except that it does not cover abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection.