Senate Rejects Nelson's Abortion Amendment

He wanted tougher language, has vowed to vote against overall bill
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2009 4:44 PM CST
Senate Rejects Nelson's Abortion Amendment
Senator Ben Nelson.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Senate today rejected an effort to stiffen abortion restrictions in the health care bill. The move could ultimately complicate Harry Reid's ability to get 60 votes for the overall bill. Democrat Ben Nelson and Republican Orrin Hatch wanted to ban any insurance plan that gets taxpayer dollars from offering abortion coverage. Nelson previously has vowed to vote against any final bill without such language, and Reid can't afford to lose Democratic votes.

The stronger restrictions mirrored provisions in the House-passed health care bill. The Senate bill currently allows insurance plans to cover abortions, but it tries to separate private funds from federal money. It specifies that abortion coverage can be paid for only with private dollars. The vote today was 54 to 45.
(Read more Ben Nelson stories.)

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