Great news from Capitol Hill last night: the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, the Senate’s version of Stupak-Pitts Amendment, was tabled in a 54-45 vote, effectively defeating the abortion coverage ban in the Senate. Yesterday’s vote is thanks to the hard work of so many of us. From Emily Douglas at The Nation:
The tide on the Stupak (House version) and Nelson amendments seemed to turn last Wednesday, when a national pro-choice lobby day brought hundreds of citizen lobbyists, marshaled by a huge coalition of groups that included Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America but also dozens of smaller reproductive justice groups headquartered around the country, to Capitol Hill.
Those of us on Capitol Hill were joined by organizers all over the country who held hundreds of local events to let our legislators know the abortion coverage ban is unacceptable.
Now we have to make sure Senator Nelson makes the right choice and doesn’t filibuster health care reform. And there is also this disturbing statement from Senator Reid to be concerned about:
Reid told reporters earlier Tuesday afternoon he would consider other language to allay Nelson’s concerns. “If in fact he doesn’t succeed here, we’ll try something else,” Reid said.
There is still a lot of work to do to pass health care reform with a strong public option that expands coverage without further restricting abortion access. But this is definitely a moment to congratulate ourselves and thank our allies. From the Raising Women’s Voices blog:
If your Senators voted for the motion to table the amendment, please thank them. No matter where you live, let your Senators know that you’re glad to see the abortion coverage ban defeated. Congress has already compromised women’s access to abortion. Tell them further restrictions that take away benefits women have now are not acceptable.
And please also thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for opposing the amendment and speaking against it.
You can see how all Senators voted here (Edited to add a little procedural information: this vote was a motion to table the amendment, so a “Yea” vote is a vote against the abortion coverage ban, while a “Nea” vote is a vote for the abortion coverage ban).
Congratulations everyone on an important victory!