By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 9, 2009 ( – As more Democrats attempt to reassure the pro-abortion constituency not to fret over the health bill's apparent pro-life turn, one senior House Democrat has declared her certainty that the pro-life Stupak amendment, which was passed by the House this past Saturday, is bound to be shot down in a later version of the bill.

“I am confident that when it [H.R. 3962] comes back from the conference committee that that language [the Stupak amendment] won't be there,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the House's chief deputy Democratic whip, in an appearance on MSNBC.

“And I think we're all going to be working very hard, particularly the pro-choice members, to make sure that's the case.” 

Pro-abortion House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised many in the abortion lobby on Saturday evening by allowing a vote on the easily-passed Stupak amendment, which would maintain federal policy by blocking government funding of most abortions. 

However, it is widely acknowledged that the move was critical just to keep the struggling health care overhaul alive to see another day.

The LA Times reports today that, in her pragmatic quest for the bill's survival, Pelosi courted the pro-life constituency like never before: “She summoned antiabortion Democrats to her ornate Capitol office. She conferred with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be sure the new restrictions were acceptable. She even consulted by telephone with a cardinal in Rome. “ 

However, as Democrats and pro-life leaders alike note, while the amendment was a strong testimony to America's pro-life values, the bill's backers are not about to abandon the pro-abortion forces that have supported the initiative all along.

“There's no way at the end of the day we're going to support these kinds of further restrictions on abortion,” said Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, in a Saturday morning appearance on C-Span. “We're going to strategize further about how we're going to respond to this amendment. Get as many votes as we can against it. But at the end of the day we want to move the process along.”

Pro-abortion California Democrat Lynn Woolsey told The Hill Sunday, concerning the pro-life amendment: “I will insist that it come out.”

House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner says he was on to the Democrat strategy early in the game, when he failed to receive assurance from senior Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman that the pro-life language would stay put when the bill later merged with its Senate counterpart.

“The only reason this amendment is allowed to be offered is in order to secure enough votes to try to move this bill through the floor today,” said Boehner. “And I have my doubts about whether this language if it passes has any chance of ever being in the final version of this bill.”

See related coverage:

Pro-Life Amendment Seen as Historic Victory Overshadowed by Dangers of Health Bill Passage 

NY Times: Dems Banking on Later Squeezing Pro-Life Language Out of Bill in Committee