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.
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"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.