The Big Question: What's the future of the Stupak amendment?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer some insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

Some House Democrats are vowing to vote against the Stupak amendment if it comes back from a conference committee as the abortion debate in healthcare reform heats up.

Is there any viable compromise to resolve this issue and does it represent the biggest threat to healthcare reform?

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said:

The compromise is the Capps Amendment that was agreed upon during the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the legislation. This was included in the underlying health care bill.

The current abortion compromise, the Capps Amendment, in H.R. 3962, already applies the Hyde amendment so that it has the same effect as it currently does in Medicaid. The health insurance exchange is not comparable to Medicaid. This is fundamentally a private health care system whereby individuals will be purchasing plans from private insurance companies, in large part with their own money. The Stupak-Pitts amendment dramatically changes federal policies related to abortion coverage and undermines the principle of abortion neutrality in health care reform.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president for Family Research Council Action, said:

The "Stupak, Pitts, Kaptur, Dahlkemper, Smith, Ellsworth and Lipinski amendment" (otherwise known as the SPKDSEL amendment - well at least by me) was a compromise. It does nothing to limit abortion, unfortunately, but more importantly does nothing to EXPAND abortion. The shrill reaction from pro-abortion legislators and their abortion industry allies is further proof that without such protections as the SPKSEL amendment, government funded abortions would be the norm.

There is little doubt the most vulnerable and almost only redeemable part of the over trillion dollar H.R. 2962 is the amendment stopping government funded abortions. Family Research Council Action will seek to keep those pro-life protections against the wishes of the Obama Administration and the abortion industry as we also seek to make changes to other problem provisions of the legislation.

Suzanne T. Poppema, MD, board chair of the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said:

Anti-choice legislators may be a threat to health care reform, but they proved Saturday night that they are an even bigger threat to women. Abortion is a legally protected medical service, yet the Stupak amendment effectively denies this right to millions of American women. It’s a cruel lie to claim that women could buy an abortion rider to ensure coverage. No woman anticipates an unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy, and women in these difficult circumstances shouldn’t have to consult with Congress about whether to have an abortion. We will fight to ensure the final health reform bill offers coverage for all Americans—including the women who need abortions.