‘Top Line’ — Abortion-Rights Groups ‘Asleep at the Wheel?’

Nov 9, 2009 2:23pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Abortion-rights supporters suffered a major setback on Saturday, when House Democratic leaders cut a deal with conservative Democrats to allow a vote on a measure drastically limiting abortion coverage under the health care expansions in the works in Congress. That’s already sparked a backlash from groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, who’ve launched a fierce lobbying effort to get that language changed in the Senate bill. More than 40 House Democrats are telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they won’t vote for anything “that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law,” Greg Sargent reports at The Plum Line blog. But it’s going to be hard to make the bill more liberal as it makes its way through the Senate, liberal blogger Jane Hamsher warned on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” today. “Getting it stripped out of conference is going to be, I think, incredibly difficult. You don’t start your battle after the bill is passed,” said Hamsher, the founder of FireDogLake.com. “[Rep.] Bart Stupak started [his push to get the abortion amendment in the bill] on July 1; he was successful. Everybody else was sort of asleep at the wheel,” Hamsher said. “I mean, bottom line, Democrats really don’t want to take on the choice issue. They do not want to spend the political capital. They want to keep their big tent large.” “It wasn’t a surprise; the only people it apparently surprised are NARAL and Planned Parenthood,” Hamsher continued. Hamsher and other liberal activists and bloggers were successful in getting a public option included in the House bill. Their attention now turns squarely to the Senate. “We’re going to be working on what we’ve always worked on, which is making sure that co-ops and triggers and opt-outs don’t make their way into the bill,” Hamsher said. “We think there’s actually a good chance to kill it if ‘opt-out’ does make it in in the House, because you’ve got too many members from the South, from red states, who are basically slitting their own throats if they vote for it.” Click HERE for the full interview with Jane Hamsher. We also chatted with Republican analyst Leslie Sanchez, the author of a new book about women in politics: “You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe.” Watch the full interview with Leslie Sanchez, on GOP health care efforts, female Republican rising stars, and — of course — Sarah Palin, HERE.  

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