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Senate Panel Votes Down Abortion Amendment in Baucus Bill

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch tried, and ultimately failed, to add an amendment to the health care hydra that Max Baucus’ reform bill has become. This one would have required women to buy separate policies for abortion-related services. Even the formerly reticent Sen. Olympia Snowe cast a “no” vote on this one.

However, this isn’t the end of the last-minute attempts at amending Baucus’ work in progress, and issues related to seniors’ and immigrants’ health coverage were also in the mix on Wednesday. –KA

The Washington Post:

The proposal suggested the “woman is assuming she will have abortions,” Snowe said. “Most of these pregnancies that result in abortion are unplanned pregnancies.”

Hatch said his intention was to lock in current prohibitions on the use of federal tax dollars on abortion.

But Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who said she was found the amendment “offensive,” said Hatch’s provision went beyond current legal restrictions.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was the only Democrat on the panel to support the failed amendment. The Senate panel is expected to wrap up its increasingly fractious debate on coverage issues Wednesday and turn to revenue provisions that would pay for the bill, which is likely to be the main vehicle for debate on the Senate floor. Debate on coverage for illegal immigrants may also surface during Wednesday’s session.

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