On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed a massive healthcare bill In addition, the House voted in the Stupak-Pitts amendment (HR 3962) which expressly forbids federal funding of abortion through public insurance.
Previously, many had claimed another amendment (known as the Hyde amendment) prevented tax dollars from going to abortion; though the Hyde amendment only applied to the particular bill it was associated with; not this new healthcare bill. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposed the healthcare reform bill as long as its stance on abortion remained unchanged.
Some leaders in the House, including the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, had moved to block a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment because the healthcare bill already prevented funds from going to abortions (through the Hyde amendment presumably). However, with a vote on the entire bill looming, and the required number of votes in serious doubt, the Stupak-Pitts amendment was allowed a vote.
Some didn’t appreciate allowing a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment and even (reportedly) left the room; including Rules Committee chairman Louise Slaughter. So much for the bill already preventing abortion funding. Why’s it worth walking out if more explicit language to prevent funding of abortion is added?
While the healthcare bill only passed by a margin of only two votes, the Stupak-Pitts amendment flew through 240-194!
Please check out the USCCB’s website (http://www.usccb.org/) for more information on the bishop’s opinion of the bill as it stands today.