"Senators Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) today introduced for consideration in the Senate's health care bill their abortion-related amendment, which mirrors the House's Stupak amendment. The Senate is expected to vote swiftly on the critical language.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said earlier that the chamber would be eager to vote on the amendment, which would restore Hyde-amendment restrictions on federal funding for most abortions.
"I want to get it out of the way," said Reid. "I think we all do."
The vote on the abortion language could come as early as Monday or Tuesday.
The vote marks a critical juncture for the health care overhaul: while pro-abortion Democrat lawmakers have vowed to vote down the bill if it includes the pro-life language, Democrat Sen. Nelson has said he would oppose the bill without it. Democrats have been struggling to secure votes from 60 lawmakers to block a filibuster on the bill.
Nonetheless, Democrats charged with pressuring members of their caucus to support the bill continue to express confidence amid intense compromising efforts. As lawmakers worked on the bill in a rare weekend session, President Obama visited the Capitol Sunday to deliver a closed door speech rallying Democrats in support of his legislation.
"We are close to getting this done," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill."
Be under no illusion about this, the fight will go on even if a pro-life Amendment is passed. There will be an attempt to remove it or undermine it down the road.
One feminist blog is not happy about this Amendment.
"An anti-choice amendment to the health care bill was filed today by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch - it's likely to be debated today as well.
Other than pull a George Sodini, there isn't much more Republicans and conservative "Democrats" can do to reveal their deep seated sexism. Nelson's God Awful Amendment takes the Stupak language to an entirely different level and goes right for the jugular by proposing an outright abortion ban for women who receive federal subsidies. This could mean that a woman's status as a welfare recipient or a patron of the proposed insurance exchange program could effectively bar them from receiving any abortion services. This man has the nerve to not only propose such an outlandish measure, but to cry filibuster if he doesn't get his way..."