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Behind Stupak, House Shoots Down Stupak Abortion Amendment

The Republicans tonight had one last chance to put a wrench in the Democrats’ plans to tweak the Senate health bill via reconciliation. It came in the form of something called a motion to recommit, which effectively represented the one GOP amendment allowed under the rules set for the health care vote. And they chose a doozy: Their amendment was the same abortion language found in the original House-passed bill — language that was inserted upon the insistence of Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the anti-abortion Democrat who vowed to oppose the bill otherwise.

Republicans, of course, were hoping that the same coalition of anti-abortion Democrats who’d voted for that language the first time around would also support it tonight. Because many Senate Democrats oppose the Stupak provision, attaching it to the reconciliation bill would have threatened that proposal — which, of course, was why the Republicans chose it to begin with.

It didn’t happen.

Behind Stupak, Democrats rallied to defeat the motion to recommit by an easy vote of 232 to 199. Twenty-one Democrats joined every Republican in voting for the measure.

“This motion is really to politicize life,” Stupak said just before the vote, “not to protect life.”

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