Via Kathryn Lopez, Senator Kent Conrad said on MSNBC today: "I think changes to abortion would probably not be permitted under reconciliation and the Byrd Rule requirement."

If Conrad is correct, then the House would have to pass the Senate bill's taxpayer-funding of abortion provisions. Pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak has said that the abortion issue will cost Pelosi at least 10 of her original 220 "yes" votes for the current proposal. One of those 10, James Oberstar of Minnesota, firmly told Congressional Quarterly on February 24, "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn't have the House abortion language in it."

Back in November, Nancy Pelosi assented to an up or down vote on Stupak's anti-abortion-funding amendment because she could not pass the bill without Stupak's coalition of pro-life Democrats. Pelosi cannot resort to this maneuver again (and even if she could it's not clear the pro-choice members of the House or Senate would go along with it).

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