Committee Strikes Down Pro-Life Amendments

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Two amendments designed to strengthen anti-abortion provisions in the health care overhaul went down in defeat, Wednesday, but not without a fight.

"This is a health care bill. This is not an abortion bill and we are not changing current law," said Democratic Sen. Max Baucus.

"No federal funds will be used for abortion in the modified Chairman's Mark. Period," he added.

Both amendments were offered by Utah Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch.

He told CBN News the current language in the Senate Finance Committee bill does not go far enough to ensure that federal dollars will not be used to pay for abortions.

"The vast majority of people in this country, even pro-choice people or pro-abortion people, do not believe taxpayers should have to pay for the abortions of others," Hatch said.

Read more about the fight against abortion funding in health care reform on David's blog, The Brody File.

Baucus, who drafted the bill known as the "Chairman's Mark," claims his version already incorporates federal law that bars abortion funding except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a mother.

Sen. Hatch says the problem is that it requires Congress to renew a ban each year.

"They just can't stand the debate because they know that they're gradually losing on the issue of abortion," Hatch said.

Another amendment would have protected doctors and nurses who don't want to perform abortions because of their own beliefs, but was rejected too.

Still, opponents say this is not the end.

"It still takes bringing up these amendments, even though we might lose, and seeing how far we can go with them because we have got to fight this," Hatch said. "It's just wrong."

The Senate Finance Committee still has a number of amendments to get through.

Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming is proposing a handful that have to do with abortion.

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David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.