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Keeping the pressure on the Senate and the eventual conferees on healthcare reform, Jan Schakowsky is the first among the 40+ House Dems who signed a letter to Pelosi to vowing a no vote on a bill with Stupak to reveal herself. Greg Sargent:

Some 41 House Dems have signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowing a No vote on a bill with Stupak, but it’s not known who the signatories are. Schakowsky’s office confirmed that she’d signed the letter — and since her voice carries weight with House liberals, it could embolden others to publicly make the same commitment.

“If left as is the health care reform bill would be the largest repeal of anti-choice laws in nearly four decades,” Schakowsky said in a statement emailed my way. “I will continue to work with the Senate and the Conference Committee to make the bill acceptable, but cannot and will not support health care reform that blatantly discriminates against women.”

It’s worth noting again that it will be much tougher for pro-choice liberals to back down on this one than it was for progressives to accept the less-robust public option. In the public option fight, liberals could say they secured something; by contrast, Stupak is a significant step backward.

The White House and Dem leadership know pro-choice liberals won’t be able to accept Stupak as is, which is why the president is alreadly signaling that Stupak will be seriously revised. By going public, Schakowski is signaling to other pro-choice Dems to stand firm heading into conference negotiations with the Senate, so that they retain real leverage.

Holding the line against rollback of abortion rights is certainly an easier defense than trying to push the envelope for something new. Hopefully more pro-choice House members will sign on to the letter and publicly state their refusal to support a bill with such a restrictive amendment. That could help Senate leadership and the White House, hopefully, kill the effort.

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 05:10 PM PST.

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