Senate votes to table Nelson abortion amendment

Proponents of tighter restrictions on abortion coverage in reform legislation suffer an early setback

By Alex Koppelman
December 9, 2009 3:33AM (UTC)
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The Senate has just voted to table an amendment to its healthcare reform legislation that would have tightened the bill's restrictions on coverage for abortion, bringing it in line with the language contained in the House's Stupak amendment.

By tabling the amendment, the Senate essentially defeated it. But don't think that's the end of the debate over abortion and healthcare reform.

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This amendment was authored by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who represents a key swing vote on reform, one his fellow Democrats have been working hard to get. And Nelson has said that if language like that used in the Stupak amendment, and in his proposal, isn't included in the Senate bill, he'll vote to support a filibuster.

The vote was 54-45 in favor of tabling the amendment. Nelson and his allies needed 60 votes to keep it alive.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Abortion Ben Nelson D-neb. Healthcare Reform U.s. Senate