Senator Ben Nelson's amendment to further restrict a woman's right to choose has been killed by a 54-45 vote. Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, teamed with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to impose restrictions on abortion funding similar to those found in the Stupak amendment in the House health care reform bill.
In essence, the amendment would've not only prevented federal funding from being used to pay for abortions -- which is the current law -- but it would've barred anyone receiving government subsidies for private insurance from having abortion coverage ... along with preventing insurance companies participating in the federal exchange from offering such coverage.
Under the amendment, a completely legal and protected medical procedure (Roe v. Wade, anyone?) would've been virtually out of reach for middle-class women. Score one for the pro-choice crowd.
The vote serves as a victory for the progressive angle of the health care reform debate; while progressives are faced with compromising such facets as the public option -- to the point now that some in the Senate are considering other ideas in its place -- the defeat of Sen. Nelson's amendment is a victory.
Well, unless the Senator threatens to filibuster. That's where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would come in.
Make of that what you will.