Every pro-choice organization that ever endorsed Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and discouraged a Democratic opponent from running against her has a lot of explaining to do today. Because Collins is pushing an anti-abortion bill in the guise of an Obamacare stabilization bill, another one of the components of the omnibus spending bill Congress must pass this week to avoid a government shutdown.
For months, Collins has been supposedly pushing an Obamacare fix, though never actually putting her vote on the line when it mattered (see the whole Republican tax scam debacle and her refusal to hold Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to his promises). She ditched Democratic negotiators in her efforts, and is now behind a measure that would essentially force all the health insurers participating in the exchanges to drop abortion coverage.
Under the status quo—set out in the ACA and an executive order issued by President Barack Obama—federal funds cannot be spent on abortions, but insurers are free to offer plans that cover abortions and use segregated nonfederal funds to pay any abortion-related claims.
Under the proposed Republican language, according to a GOP aide familiar with the plan, insurers cannot use the stabilization funds to subsidize any plan that offers abortion coverage—whether or not the insurer uses the federal funds to pay for any specific claims. Republicans view the provision as adhering to the long-standing Hyde Amendment—a 40-year-old appropriations restriction that prevents federal funding for abortions—but Democrats view it as an impermissible expansion of abortion restrictions.
The proposal from Collins and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander has the support of the White House, which says "We are still committed to ensuring that no taxpayer money goes to funding abortion." No taxpayer money does, because of the Hyde Amendment—as Collins very well knows. As for this effort, Collins says "We're still working on that," but "would not get into the details of negotiations when asked about the Hyde dispute." Right.
Turns out, Collins neither cares about women's abortion rights or the health care of millions of people. She also doesn't need McConnell to block her efforts. She's capable of doing it all by herself.