Pro-lifers outside the Capitol at the March for Life [Photo by Eric Scheidler]
The US House of Representatives passed the Stupak Amendment to the healthcare reform bill Saturday, November 7—a great victory for the pro-life movement. The amendment, proposed by Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan, explicitly forbids federal funding for abortion. It passed with 240 votes, a clear majority of 46 votes.
Pro-choice Democrats fought tooth and nail to resist all attempts to put specific language in the healthcare bill that would forbid abortion funding, insisting that funding abortion was already forbidden by the Hyde Amendment and that the word abortion was not even in the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planned not to let the Stupak Amendment even come up for a vote before the house.
In response, pro-life organizations across the country banded together to form the Stop the Abortion Mandate coaltion. The coalition urged supporters to contact their representatives by phone, e-mail, regular mail and fax insisting that they allow the Stupak Amendment to be voted on and that they support the amendment in that vote.
Pro-lifers flooded Representatives’ offices with calls and letters and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Representatives to pass the amendment. In the end, the amendment was brought for a vote and passed, as did the healthcare reform bill later that day.
But the struggle against abortion funding in healthcare reform is not over. The bill still has to pass the Senate and many pro-lifers are afraid that the Stupak Amendment may be stripped from the bill before it can pass there. Planned Parenthood, NOW and other pro-choice groups are trying to rally their supporters to push their Senators to reject the bill in its current form.
The League will be following the story closely and alerting supporters list when more calls and letters to Senators will be needed.