Today, the Senate began their own campaign for a similar amendment, when Senators Bill Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and others introduced an amendment to its version of the health care reform bill. Just like Stupak-Pitts, the Nelson-Hatch amendment will restrict federal subsidies for health insurance from being used for private health insurance plans that cover abortion. Let me try to explain this as simply as possible: Basically, if private health insurance companies want money from people who are getting their insurance because they’ve received government funding, then they can’t cover abortions at all. That, in turn, would mean every woman on that plan — regardless if she paid for it entirely herself — wouldn’t get health insurance coverage for her abortion. Paying the full cost of an abortion oneself may not be a problem for wealthy women, but middle-class and lower-income women who can’t scrape together the $500 or so it takes to terminate a pregnancy won’t have a choice in the matter and will have to obtain their abortions through other means — or not have one at all.
However, The Wall Street Journal speculates the Senate’s amendment doesn’t have the votes to pass, which may mean it has less of a chance of ending up in the final version of the health care reform bill that President Obama will sign. We’ll be watching to see what happens… [New York Times, Wall Street Journal]