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House committee rejects limiting abortion coverage in healthcare overhaul

The amendment, which was approved at first, is shot down during a second vote.

July 31, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — An anti-abortion amendment to a sweeping healthcare overhaul bill was rejected by a House committee late Thursday -- a dramatic reversal that came just hours after the measure had been approved.

The amendment said that healthcare overhaul legislation may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except when a woman's life is in danger or her pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. It was approved in the Energy and Commerce Committee, with conservative Democrats joining Republicans to support it.

Hours later, committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) invoked House rules that allowed him to bring up the amendment for a second vote, despite Republican objections.

This time, one conservative Democrat -- Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee -- changed his vote from "yes" to "no." And a second conservative Democrat who hadn't voted the first time -- Rep. Zack Space of Ohio -- voted "no."

It was enough to take down the amendment on a 30-29 vote.

The committee voted on various amendments late into the night and will resume today, when it is expected to vote on the full bill.

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