Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) “categorically” pledged in September to oppose abortion coverage mandates in the health care legislation presently before Congress, but with the Hatch-Nelson amendment on the immediate horizon some now fear the Wisconsin Democrat may hedge on his promise.
“We should not be using health care reform to provide government access to abortion,” said Kohl–who NARAL awarded a 100% pro-choice rating–at a health care forum sponsored by Marquette University Law School.
But of particular consequence for the prescient senior senator from Wisconsin was the concern that Senate leadership would broker a late-night, controversial agreement on federally-subsidized abortion.
Decidedly off-message, Kohl continued, “And I would hope that people from whatever party won’t try and go down that road and put it into a bill in the dead of night and then, lo and behold, wake up the next morning and something that shouldn’t have happened did happen.”
Marquette graduate Dan Zeidler, whose line of questioning on abortion promise to land Kohl in uncertain waters with progressive Democrats, was assured by the Senator the two could work “directly” on a solution to prevent controversial abortion coverage mandates.
After weeks of unresponsiveness, Zeidler penned an open letter to Kohl, copying local Catholic Bishops. The letter (PDF) asks Kohl to reconfirm his commitment to “work directly” with concerned constituents to ensure passage of a similarly-worded House-passed provisions that denies federal coverage for abortion “and the other related life-protective matters, including the rights of conscious.”
An audio recording of the forum confirms Kohl’s account of the event, which was previously unreported.