The healthcare reform bill provision banning federal abortion funding is fast emerging as one of the key contentious issues as the congressional negotiations move forward. In fact, last week a high ranking House Democrat predicted the Stupak-Pitt amendment was likely be removed.
The amendment prohibits coverage of abortion in the public option and bars anyone receiving a federal subsidy from purchasing a health insurance plan that covers the procedure.
Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina was quoted by MSNBC as saying he believes the amendment will be dropped from the legislation when the House and Senate bills—the latter is still pending—will be fashioned into a final act. He also suggested many House Democrats voted for the amendment with the expectation that it will not be included in the final version.
In response, GOP spokesperson Joanna Burgos denounced what she called "a cruel and morally questionable political hoax" committed by the Democrats.
"The last-minute maneuvering by Democrats in Congress to strip provisions allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions was nothing more than a shell game," she stated, quoted by TheHill.com.
The news provider says that although House liberals have threatened to block the final bill if the amendment is not stripped, it is not clear how removing the provision would affect centrist Democrats’ vote.