Sen. Ben Nelson Asks Bishops' Blessing on His Anti-Choice Health-Care Amendment

Nelson won't offer his amendment to the Senate's health-care reform legislation until the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops has time to review it.

Just in case you had any doubt about the direct--and I mean direct--intervention of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in curtailing women's rights in US health reform legislation, here is the latest evidence of how some representatives are working at what appears to be the behest of the bishops.

Congressional Quarterly reports

Ben Nelson hardened his stance on abortion language Thursday, stating he would not vote for a health care overhaul unless the bill’s proposed restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions are tightened.  [Though] he had said earlier in the week that abortion language was not a make-or-break proposition in the debate.

If the Stupak Amendment is not passed, Nelson has stated he will join a Republican filibuster against the bill.

Without Nelson, Reid will need at least one Republican to reach the 60 votes he needs to limit debate on the health care overhaul and bring it to a vote. The likeliest candidate is Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who voted for a version of the legislation approved by the Finance Committee.

But to win their votes Reid will have to:

yield to Snowe’s demands on another contentious issue in the health care debate: the government-run insurance plan, known as the “public option,” that many Democrats want to create to compete with private insurers. Snowe is skeptical of the proposal and has said she will support a public option only if it is structured as a fallback, triggered solely in the event that private insurers fail to offer coverage considered affordable.

Discussions are underway to reach a compromise position in creating a public option similar in some respects to the plan Snowe has outlined.

Nelson and Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) appear to have engaged in a sort of pissing match on who owns the strategy of taking away women's rights in the Senate bill.


Jodi Jacobson is the senior political editor for RH Reality Check.
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