The initial vote on the Stupak amendment that would ban federal funding of abortion passed the amendment. However, in a strategic move, Chairman Waxman called for a second vote and Representative Bart Gordon changed his vote. The amendment failed.
In its place the House committee passed the Capps amendment:
Although the amendment’s language appears to do away with the abortion mandate, Capitol Hill pro-lifers note that it explicitly permits the Secretary to include abortion in the services offered by the public plan. Indeed, if the Hyde amendment is reversed, the amendment would actually require that the public plan cover abortions.
With regard to the massive subsidies authorized under the act, referred to as “affordability credits,” the Capps amendment specifically requires taxpayer subsidies to flow to plans that include abortion, but creates an accounting scheme designed to give the impression that public funds will not subsidize abortion itself.
Other provisions in the Capps amendment appear to prevent state laws from being overturned and prohibit the Secretary from mandating that all plans include abortion. But the Capps amendment also requires that an abortion-covering plan be made available in every region.
I called Representative Gordon’s office this afternoon. Here is how the conversation went:
Staffer: Hello, Representative Gordon’s office
Me: Could you explain the flip-flop of Representative Gordon on the Stupak amendment last night?
Staffer: The initial presentation of the amendment was misrepresented
Me: Excuse me?
Staffer: The initial presentation of the amendment lacked transparency and clarity
Me: Your answer lacks transparency and clarity. Why did Representative Gordon vote to allow federal funding of abortion.
Staffer: Representative Gordon has always opposed federal funding of abortion
Me: He voted against an amendment that would ban federal funding of abortion and for an amendment that allows federal funding of abortion.
Staffer: He voted for an amendment that is, as I understand it, abortion neutral
Me: The Capps amendment specifically allows abortion in the public plan. And Tina Tchen, an Obama staffer assured Planned Parenthood just days ago that abortion would be part of the reproductive health package.
Staffer: I will pass that message on to Representative Gordon. He is completely opposed to federal funding of abortion
Me: Those are very nice words but I expect to see action. I will be donating to his opponent if I don’t see clear action in opposition to federal funding of abortion.
If you would like to add your voice, give Representative Gordon’s office a call at (202) 225-4231