What: All Issues : Family Planning : Abortion : S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Allard of Colorado amendment that would stipulate that children can be eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program “from the time of conception”/On agreeing to the amendment
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S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Allard of Colorado amendment that would stipulate that children can be eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program “from the time of conception”/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 81     Mar 13, 2008
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Wayne Allard, R-Colo., that would stipulate that children are eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) “from the time of conception.”  The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress’ budget priorities in fiscal 2009. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

The SCHIP program – funded primarily through taxes on tobacco products -- helps low income families with children afford health insurance, and currently covers about 6 million kids.

“Many States’ definition of coverage for a pregnant woman leads to the strange legal fiction that the adult pregnant woman is a child. This amendment will clarify in statute that the term “child” includes the period from conception to birth and will not include a pregnant woman in the definition of a child,” Allard said.

But Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., argued that the amendment was drafted to encourage SCHIP to recognize an unborn fetus as a person, thereby injecting into the debate a contentious argument about when life actually begins.  She offered an amendment just prior to this amendment that stipulates that pregnant women can be covered under SCHIP.

Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the Boxer amendment already clarified SCHIP law and that Allard’s amendment is duplicative at best.  “We solved the problem in the Boxer amendment. If you cover the pregnant woman, you cover her fetus. What Senator Allard does is remove the coverage from the pregnant woman and cover the fetus,” Feinstein said.

By a vote of 46-52, the amendment was rejected.  All but two Democrats present voted against the amendment (Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Ben Nelson of Nebraska).  All but four Republicans present voted for the amendment (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania).  The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have specified that SCHIP eligibility begins at the time of conception.

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