Senate Health Bill Runs Into Abortion Divide

Both sides have vocal opponents, could halt bill without compromise
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2009 12:05 PM CST
In this Nov. 3, 2009, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, flanked by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, left, and Sen. Patty Murray, gestures while speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, FILE)
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(Newser) – With a last-second concession barring federal dollars from funding abortions, Nancy Pelosi largely skirted the full brunt of the issue, but Harry Reid may not be so lucky. The Senate majority leader likely won't get the 60 votes he needs without similar language— which a Planned Parenthood VP calls a “middle-class abortion ban”—but pro-choice lawmakers could also stall a too-restrictive bill, Politico reports.

“I don’t know that anyone has quite found the right formula yet,” says one senator who opposes federal funding for abortions. The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America promises that “we are prepared to stop at nothing” to keep a bill with the restrictive abortion amendment from passing. Bill Clinton will discuss health care with the Democratic caucus today at Reid’s request.