By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2009 ( – The Senate voted 54-45 Tuesday evening to table the Nelson/Hatch/Casey amendment, effectively killing the language that would have restricted abortion funding in the healthcare bill.

The tabling vote allowed Democrats to do away with the Nelson amendment without the 60 votes needed in an up-or-down vote.

The Nelson/Hatch/Casey amendment would have mirrored the House's Stupak amendment, which preserved federal Hyde-amendment policy in that chamber's bill by banning government-appropriated funds from paying for most abortions.