Amy Sullivan nicely summarizes the state of play of the Senate health care debate with respect to abortion. As in the House, the Catholic bishops are hanging tough, delivering a strong missive in support of the Nelson-Casey amendment, which tracks Stupak-Pitts. In an interview with the WSJ, Chief USCCB staffer Richard Doerflinger put the bishops’ position this way :
“That’s not a negotiation we’re prepared to have,” said Richard
Doerflinger, associate director of the secretariat of pro-life
activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which pushed
for the abortion restrictions in the House bill. “I really don’t know
how you compromise further.”
Maybe I’m missing something here, but it doesn’t seem to me that the bishops have thus far compromised at all. Unless they consider it a compromise to accept federal funding of abortions in cases of rape and incest–disallowed by Catholic doctrine.
Be that as it may, Sullivan suggests that the Democrat leadership will seek to effect cloture not via an abortion compromise but through the public option. The key player there is Olympia Snowe, who is strongly pro-choice. In the end, the bishops may find themselves with less than they might have gotten.