Abortion Splits Dems

Quigley and Lipinski's votes hinge on abortion language

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski and Mike Quigley both say they may vote "no" on health care over abortion language -- but for different reasons.

    House Democrats say they've got the votes to pass the massive health care reform bill -- but two representatives from Chicago aren't necessarily with them.

    Rep. Mike Quigley, whose 5th District includes many of the liberal-leaning neighborhoods on the city's North Side, says he will not vote for the legislation if anti-abortion language is included.

    By early Sunday afternoon, Quigly's camp released a statement, saying he would vote "yes" on on health care reform, as long as those anti-abortion provisions stay out.

    "No one can claim that this bill is perfect.  It is rather a historic place to start from which we will review, refine, and most importantly, help millions of American families for the first time in generations.  We are on the brink of history, and it is (an) honor to be a part of it," Quigley's statement read.

    On the other end, the anti-abortion Rep. Dan Lipinski, whose district includes the more blue collar Southwest Side, wants stricter provisions limiting abortion procedures in the bill.  He's part of a coalition of anti-abortion Democrats, headed by Rep. Bart Stupak.

    Late Sunday afternoon, Stupak said he would vote "yes" on the bill, and that an executive order by the president would eliminate abortion funding.  With Stupak moving into the "yes" column, it's likely that Lipinski and others in Stupak's coalition will follow.

    It seems that the method of putting anti-abortion language into an executive order, and not in the bill, may appease both liberal and centrist Democrats alike.

    The Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet called Quigley and Lipinski a microcosm of the larger struggle going on in Washington ahead of Sunday's vote. A deal to get anti-abortion Democrats on board could alienate some of their more liberal-leaning counterparts -- and put the 216 votes needed in jeopardy.  But President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear to have made it through that mine field, and seem to have cobbled together a big enough coalition to pass health reform.

    We'll know for sure soon enough.  The House convened at noon CDT to take up the health reform measure, and a vote is expected before the day is done.

    For their part, Republicans say they'll do all they can to stop the bill's passage.  But if it does make it through, they're confident that Democrats will pay a heavy price in the November midterm elections.