Though House leaders say they'd like a health reform bill vote by Friday, some Democrats are threatening to block its passage over the issue of abortion.
The Washington Post: "House leaders were still negotiating Monday with the bloc of Democrats concerned about abortion provisions in the legislation, saying that they could lead to public funding of the procedure." Rep. Bart Stupak says he has 40 Democrats who could vote with him to oppose the reform bill if abortion language doesn't change. The issue centers around federal subsidies for people who cannot afford health care coverage themselves and a government-run public plan. "Under a 1976 law, federal funds are generally barred from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or to ensure the life of the mother" (Bacon, 11/3).
NPR: "What lawmakers decided instead was to try to craft what they called abortion-neutral language. In other words, they tried to freeze in place the status quo. Currently, the federal government doesn't pay for abortion in most cases, but many, if not most, private insurance plans do." Backers of the current proposal say "the federal government would be prohibited from directly funding abortion and that money for private insurance subsidies would have to be kept separate if it's going to be used to cover abortion."