Aiming to stop debate over abortion from derailing health care legislation, Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami is calling on Congress to continue the ban on federal funding for abortions.
Though proposed legislation does not mention abortion, some Republicans argue that the proposed overhaul of the healthcare system could open the door to federal funding of the procedure. Democrats counter that abortion opponents are trying to cook up controversy in an effort to topple the broader reform effort.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday, Meek joined four others Democrats in proposing a "common ground solution" that would maintain the status quo on abortion policy. Specifically, the government would continue to allow insurers to decide whether to offer abortion coverage — most do — and keep federal tax dollars out of it.
"I think it's important that we not let Republicans use this issue to make some sort of political statement and confuse Americans," Meek said Wednesday. "We don't want to find ourselves in a situation where we jeopardize access for women."
Yet the other congressmen who signed the letter have received low marks from abortion rights groups for voting in favor of restrictions. Meek has a perfect voting record on abortion rights, according to the political arms of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
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