Casey: Abortion debate will continue despite Tuesday's vote

Today's vote on a Senate amendment to curtail federal funding for abortions won't end a debate over that issue, Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) said Tuesday.

Casey, a co-sponsor of an amendment with Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to forbid consumers from purchasing policies that cover abortion under the proposed federal health exchange, said that the Senate debate over abortions will continue.

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"We're trying to give meaning to and show respect for the conscience of taxpayers. I believe we can get it right," Casey said during an appearance on Fox News. "I don't know if this vote will be the way we get that right and reach agreement on this."

"But no matter what happens in the vote -- whether it passes or does not pass -- this debate will continue on the Senate floor before we have a final vote on the bill," he added.

Senators are expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed in this afternoon's vote to include the amendment, which mirrors language included by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) in the House's healthcare bill.

Casey, an abortion-rights opponent, has said that he wouldn't oppose the legislation on final passage if it doesn't include provisions curtailing federal subsidies, but still held out hope that a deal could be reached going forward.

"I would hope that no matter what happens on this vote, we continue to have discussions," he said. "At the very least, there's common ground with regard to pro-choice and pro-life voters and public officials that we don't want to increase the number of abortions."