Fact or fiction? Abortion funding ban nixed

Claim: The anti-abortion amendment in the House insurance bill won't be part of the final House-Senate compromise.

The House voted Saturday to add to its bill an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and others, that prohibits individuals who receive federal insurance subsidies from purchasing any plan that pays for elective abortions. (Exempt are abortions performed in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the pregnant woman.) A woman who gets subsidized coverage under the House bill could use her own money to buy a supplemental policy that paid for abortion, if she chose. House Democratic leaders added the Stupak amendment to the bill in order to win the support of 64 Democrats who feared that the original bill would have subsidized abortion.

Fact or fiction?
Unclear. Passage of the House bill isn't the final act in this drama. When, or if, the Senate passes its bill, conferees from the House and the Senate would meet to negotiate a final compromise. That compromise would need to be voted on by the House and Senate. Democratic leaders said during the House debate Saturday they could give no guarantee the Stupak amendment will be part of the final bill. It isn't certain that anti-abortion Democrats in the Senate, such as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, will be able to add a Stupak-type amendment to the Senate legislation, or preserve it in the final bill. About 40 House Democrats are threatening to vote against the final bill if the Stupak amendment remains in it; if they were to follow through on this threat, they could kill the bill.

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