Ben Nelson: Abortion Compromise "Not Sufficient"

Ben Nelson: Abortion Compromise "Not Sufficient"


Senator Ben Nelson says the abortion compromise language that has been presenyted to him is "not sufficient".

Read the statement his office released below and listen to his comments on a Nebraska radio show here. (You need to go 4;55 in to hear the abortion comments)


December 17, 2009 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson praised provisions in an abortion compromise adding new teen pregnancy initiatives and tax credits for adoption, while saying that the language working to ban public funding of abortion is not sufficient at this point.

Senator Nelson said today a proposed compromise he’s studied does not yet ensure that a longstanding federal standard barring public funding of abortion would be maintained in the Senate health care bill the Senate has been debating this month.

Nelson said without further improvements the compromise is not sufficient.

“The compromise adds important new initiatives addressing teen pregnancy and tax credits to help with adoptions,” Senator Nelson said. “These are valuable improvements that will make a positive difference and promote life. But as it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient.”

Senator Nelson reiterated that he will not be able to support a cloture motion needing 60 votes to end debate on the underlying Senate bill if certain language in the bill remains. The existing language allows public funds to pay for abortion, thus relaxing the longstanding Hyde amendment.

He said today that he is open to looking at additional attempts to maintain the federal restriction on public funding of abortion.

National Right to Life doesn't like the compromise either. Let's face it. They are looking for Stupak type language. Other than that, they aren't going to go for any sort of compromise. And by the way, even if pro-life groups get their way on the abortion language, they still don't like the bill so it's not like they will be supportive of the overall legislation. Therefore, there is a school of thought here that it might be better to NOT have Stupak language in the Senate bill because if it's not in there, Nelson (if he holds true to his word) wouldn't vote for the bill thus bringing everything to a standstill.

Comments by their Legislative Director Douglas Johnson are below:

While actual legislative language is still being held in secret, enough detail has been circulated to say this much:
This is far cry from the Stupak Amendment.  This proposal would break from the long-established principles of the Hyde Amendment by providing federal subsidies for health plans that cover abortion on demand.  This is entirely unacceptable.
It is particularly offensive that the proposal apparently would make it the default position for the federal government to subsidize plans that cover abortion on demand, and then permit individual citizens to apply for conscientious objector status.
This is an exercise is cosmetics -- like putting lipstick on a legislative warthog.

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