After President Barack Obama called for an up-or-down vote on the contentious health-care overhaul, Democratic leaders now face the perhaps impossible task of rallying their own to the cause, including as many as one dozen anti-abortion Democrats in the House, according to The Washington Post.
If they’re going to be successful, Democratic leaders must also avoid scaring off abortion-rights advocates, who worry the health bill could deny women their right to an abortion. Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, is wavering on voting for health reform, reports The Denver Post, saying “if you really give up a woman’s right to choose [in the bill], you can’t fix that later. That’s gone.”
DeGette (pictured left), who is co-chair of the Pro Choice Caucus, is facing pressure from national groups to oppose a measure in the Senate version of the bill that would restrict insurance coverage of abortion. It’s unclear how the less restrictive House version would be reconciled with the Senate bill, but “our bottom line is fix it,” says Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Betsy Markey, a Fort Collins Democrat who voted against a health-care-reform bill last year, has risked alienating Democratic voters in her district in order to satisfy independents who might have qualms with reform and vote against her in the large moderate/conservative Fourth Congressional District come November.
Yet Markey is among a handful of moderate House Democrats likely to determine the fate of Obama’s key issue, points out the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
A supporter of reform, Congressman John Salazar, who represents the equally sprawling Third District, is the target of National Republican Congressional Committee robo-calls that claim, “Even though a majority of Colorado voters want them to scrap it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama are planning to ram their dangerous, out-of-control health-care spending bill through Congress anyway” (via the Grand Junction Sentinel).