Senate panel votes down abortion proposals

Sept. 30, 2009 at 5:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A proposal to broaden abortion restrictions under the overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system was voted down Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee.

The committee, on a 13-10 vote, defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that stated the current ban on federally funded abortions except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother's health would apply to all aspects of health insurance in the healthcare bill, CNN reported.

All but one Democrat on the committee -- Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota -- voted against the amendment. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the lone GOP committee members who supported it.

Snowe and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the amendment set a new limit on a woman's right to abortion by requiring women with private health insurance to purchase supplemental coverage for abortions.

Hatch said the health insurance system in the bill made it difficult to prevent federal money from paying for abortions, so he sought blanket provision to cover any possibility, CNN said.

Noting that many Americans "find it personally offensive to pay tax dollars that can be used to pay for abortions," Hatch said the amendment would have allowed individuals to pay for supplemental abortion coverage "with their own money."

Another Hatch amendment that would have barred government at any level from forcing hospitals, doctors and other health care providers to provide abortions also was defeated on another 13-10 vote.

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