U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, characterized the battle over federal funding for abortion in the raging health-care debate as  high stakes for the pro-life movement.

Grassley flat-out said Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, won’t be overturned. Additionally, he doesn’t see a chance for a constitutional amendment on abortion either.

“None of those things are going to happen any time so you get back to what this bill is going to do about abortion,” Grassley said in a conference call with the Daily Times Herald and other media.

Grassley, who is pro-life, voted “no” on a Senate procedure that sets up the chamber’s health-care bill for a vote Christmas Eve morning.

That said, as the bill is expected to pass the Democratic-majority Senate, Grassays that when it is reconciled with the House version, federal funding of abortion should be prohibited.

“That’s been the rule for 33 years,” he said, noting the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal money going to abortion. It is named after former Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, a Republican who for years was one of the more outspoken opponents of abortion on Capitol Hill.

Grassley, while opposed to the Senate health-care-reform package, wants the Hyde philosophy to prevail with new policy. The U.S. House passed more restrictive language on abortion, Grassley noted.

“It would be exactly then for those people who are covered by the new health-reform bill the same way it is for public employees, members of Congress, congressional employees, the 9 million people who are covered by the federal-employee health-benefit plan,” Grassley said. “There’s no funding of abortions through these health-insurance programs so carry that principle over the principle over from the Hyde Amendment.”