Dems may not allow vote on abortion compromise

The Democratic leadership may not allow a vote on a sensitive abortion compromise intended to get pro-lifers on board with heatlhcare reform, Speaker Pelosi hinted today.

At her weekly press conference, Pelosi hedged when a reporter suggested there would be a vote on an amendment offered by pro-life Democratic Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)

"How do you know that? No. We may not have any amendments," Pelosi said. "That decision has not been made. You may know something I don't know."

Ellsworth's amendment would separate taxpayer funds from private individuals' premiums to make sure the former does not fund abortions. 

In response to Pelosi's comments, Ellsworth's office warned that a number of pro-life Democrats would vote against the bill.

"We have said all along is that unless these concerns are addressed, my boss and a number of pro-life Democrats simply cannot support the current bill," said Liz Farrar, a spokeswoman for Ellsworth.

Pelosi was similarly vague about an amendment offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), a stronger proposal than Ellsworth's that would prevent any plan that covers abortions from participating in the new health insurance exchange.

"We will make our decision of how we go forward as we write our bill. But there has been no decision about amendments per se," Pelosi said when asked about a vote on Stupak's bill.

Stupak has threatened to round up enough pro-life votes to kill the whole bill if he doesn't get a vote on his amendment.