Chambliss: Abortion compromise 'sets up a Supreme Court challenge'

The Senate healthcare bill's language on abortion "sets up a Supreme Court challenge," one senator warned Saturday.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) asserted that the compromise on abortion contained within the bill, which would seek to segregate federal funds from subsidizing health plans covering abortion, is unconstitutional.

"What this provision does that Sen. Nelson negotiated sets up a Supreme Court challenge. Roe v. Wade's pretty clear on federal funding for abortion," Chambliss said at a Capitol Hill press conference early this afternoon.

ADVERTISEMENT
The compromise was set up to win the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who had previously threatened to vote against the bill unless he was satisfied the bill wouldn't provide federal support for abortion. Nelson announced on Saturday morning that he'd reached an agreement to his satisfaction, and would vote for the bill.

Pro-life groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have rejected the compromise language.

"And now, you're seeing that law that was laid down years ago in Roe v. Wade thrown up in the air. It's pretty obvious that votes have been bought," said Chambliss, who didn't signal whether or not he would lead a legal challenge to the bill.