The President’s proposal has, by virtue of not altering the Senate language on abortion coverage, opted for Ben Nelson’s formulation rather than Bart Stupak’s stricter standard. The Stupak amendment, you’ll remember, was deemed necessary back in November to break the logjam in the House and get enough pro-life Democratic votes to pass health reform. So will going with the Nelson language instead lose any of those pro-life votes if the House votes on a reconciliation bill?
No one knows. According to reports from leadership staff, the White House has not discussed the issue with congressional Democrats. And no one in the House leadership has whipped the issue. But it seems like a pretty key question Democrats would want answered before going forward, no?
In the absence of a hard and fast head-count, I called around to congressional offices and came up with four categories of Democrats who will be relevant if the party wants to pass health reform. It’s my best stab at answering the question of whether abortion will once against be an obstacle to health reform. You can read more about it at Time.com.