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Pelosi Meets With Female Members; Abortion Not Discussed

Abortion provisions in the health care bill were not discussed during a hastily called Wednesday morning meeting between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and female Democratic Members. Instead, Pelosi ran through talking points on how health care reform benefits women, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting.

Pelosi called the female-Members-only meeting Tuesday evening but didn’t tell lawmakers what the session would be about until they arrived — a move that fueled speculation that Pelosi may be trying to smooth over fractures in her Caucus over abortion provisions in the health care reform bill.

But there was “literally no talk” about abortion, said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who said the meeting was “strictly about the economic advantages to women in the health care bill.”

The huddle appears to be just another in a series of meetings that Pelosi is holding this week with various constituencies in her Caucus in the lead-up to a final vote on health care legislation later this week. The Speaker has already held meetings with the freshman and sophomore classes, as well as with the Congressional Black Caucus.

Pingree said that as a result of this morning’s meeting, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) is organizing a period of special order speeches over the next two days for Members to highlight how women are disproportionately singled out in the health care system.

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