March 21st, 2010
01:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Democrats 'close to a deal' on abortion to win health care passage

 When asked how close he was to a deal, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, responded, 'Close.'
When asked how close he was to a deal, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, responded, 'Close.'

Washington (CNN) - In the final hours before a health care vote Sunday, a key Democratic holdout told CNN he was close to a deal with the White House that could help win passage of the legislation.

Later: Dems reach deal on abortion funding

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, part of a group of Democrats who oppose abortion, was nearing an agreement on language in an executive order that would address the issue.

"I'm still a no," he told CNN early Sunday afternoon. "There is no deal yet. It's a work in progress. Maybe we'll get there today."

He said he had met with White House lawyers Sunday.

When asked how close he was to a deal, Stupak responded, "Close."

Stupak told CNN that eight House Democrats met with White House officials including counsel Bob Bauer on Saturday night, but the two sides did not reach an agreement.

One of the lawmakers, who would not speak on the record because of the ongoing discussions, said the order would state that new provisions in the health care bill comply with long-standing law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

The lawmaker, who has opposed the health care bill, told CNN that he would vote for it if there is acceptable text in an executive order - and if the House agrees to look at the abortion issue further in the future.

Some lawmakers believe the text in the legislation is already adequate to restrict funding. But Stupak and several others complain it does not go far enough.

Stupak had requested that the House vote on language he wanted to add restricting taxpayer funding for abortion.

On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there will not be a separate vote. She was responding to a question about her meeting with Stupak.

A group of female Democrats who support abortion rights met with the speaker as well. Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-California, and Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, said Saturday there would be no deal on Stupak's request, adding that they would bolt from the bill if such language were tied to it.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn, Lesa Jansen, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Updated: 1:56 p.m.


Filed under: Abortion • Democrats • Health care • House • Obama administration • Popular Posts
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Ann-Marie Clements

    I'm soooo tired of listening to the "right-winged" religious right about not passing this healthcare bill just for the sake of the "abortion" clause. These are the same religious group, that say, "No abortions, but we aren't going to pay for your children after they are born to teenage moms or to extremely poor families". AREN'T THEY CONTRADICTING THEMSELVES!!!

    I live in Canada, and the best thing here is Universal healthcare for ALL of the citizens, not just a few who can afford it. Today, we need change in the U.S.A., then I might consider coming back to my home country (U.S.A.), because our family was one of those "uninsured Americans" 6-1/2 years ago in Michigan...

    Let's stand up to the "olde timers" or "Take their insurance premiums away from them" then and only then they will get a sense of reality about what most of the U.S. Americans are going through everyday right now...

    Ann-Marie Clements, M.S. Ed.
    American living in Atlantic Canada

    March 21, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Pelosi said no separate vote, earlier she said no deal would be made and now Stupak says they're close to a deal on an executive order. Of course, President Obama campaigned against executive orders, so I guess there is really no deal. You don't mean the President didn't mean what he said during the campaign. Oh yeah, he also campaigned against taxing insurance plans. I'm so glad this is the most "transparent and honest Congress" in history.

    March 21, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Ed

    The Democrats "Lets Make a Deal" process is disturbing to stay the least. More backroom deals and false promises are all I see. I foresee a massive backlash at upcoming elections. It's a shame really, Democrats had an opportunity to enact change that both parties would support and actually help Americans in the process. Too bad their own greed for power and money are clouding that vision.

    March 21, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. wassup

    Stupak, figure it out. Your leader doesn't want to include specific abortion wording in the bill. Have you wondered why? They want that loophole in the legislation. You have some female democrats who support abortion rights and they don't want your language in their either. Have you wondered why? They too want that loophole.

    Don't be duped by Obama and Pelosi. They duped the American people back in November, don't allow them to dupe you and your constituents. Obama and Pelosi are known to not tell the truth.

    March 21, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Deb

    It just disgusts me that our politicians don't care about the The voice of the American People who do not want this health care reform bill rammed down our throats, I can see come November there will a lot of them looking for new jobs. To have to bribe one for a vote when the party knows they otherwise will not vote for it.. Our country I am afraid is going to Hell in a Political Hand basket.

    March 21, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Doug A

    Do any of the insurance plans that are available to Congress have provisions in them covering abortion? If so, has Stupek and/or any of these anti-abortion folks refused to partake of his/her insurance coverage? After all, doesn't the American taxpayer pay for this coverage?

    March 21, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Mike in SA

    Really Stupak?!? Are you really that stupid?!? Or do you just think WE'RE that stupid??? If Obama can enact the executive order instantly with the wave of his magic pen, then other presidents can remove that same executive order just as instantly with the stroke of their magic pen. It means nothing and gives no real protection! So much for your character Stupak. It's clear you were just waiting to sell out to a better deal all along.

    March 21, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. David from Wisconsin

    Stupak, you may end up on the wrong side of this. The Catholic sisters and healthcare workers know the right side. Leave abortion for another fight.

    March 21, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    If you want to know what Congress and Senate members get for health care, go to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Web site.

    According to the FEHBP Web site, "Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country." (This Web site also has a link to the various plans offered and the details of those plans.)

    We subsidize their health care by 75%.

    It's only fair we should enjoy the same coverage.

    March 21, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. GET INFORMED

    Well, why was he waiting too late to join the bandwagon. Well what i don;t understand is this. Stupak is a politician. Nuns and Most respectable ex-Bishops of the catholic church who are considered the one's to preach and protect the sanctity of life have accepted the language in the Reform Bill and given it a thumbs up. Stupak who is a politician and probably can recite the constitution more than he can do the 10 commandments is disagreeing with the language. What grounds does he has to justify the inappropriateness of the language? Well, time will tell if all this is right.

    March 21, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. cspurgeon

    Sounds like a solution. I don't believe in abortion and do not want my tax dollars going for it either but many democrat who votes against this bill using abortion language as a shield cares nothing for the country and the cowards should be voted out.

    March 21, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Independent

    Go for it Democrats.. History on the making today, if Republican are choosing to be in the wrong side today.. hey it's a free country but then don't blame any one and suck it up , don't make excuses because you guys don't care about the people paying for the health care you enjoy now.
    I am with The President here health care reform is need it now.

    March 21, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Tyrone

    Stupak cant be that foolish to believe there will be an executive order...

    What an idiot.

    March 21, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Daniel

    If this heathcare bill had been proposed by a Republican President with majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, it would have been passed in no time at all. What is wrong with the Democratic Party? Why are they so divided? A city divided against itself cannot stand. That city is the Democratic Party of the United States of America. It seems they are just not capable of ruling. Amazing!

    March 21, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Gracious

    This bill should be abortion neutral. That is, ensure no change from present law. Abortion is a controversial issue that cannot be resolved by legislation. Since a significant number of taxpayers are strongly morally opposed, and this is a pluralistic democracy, this issue must not be allowed to interfere with reform of health care that is beneficial to all.

    March 21, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Gary in Portsmouth, VA

    Stupak is asking for something that is already the law of the land. Please stop the showboating. I hope that he is not elected his next term either way he votes for or against the healthcare bill. We don't need showboaters in Congress.

    March 21, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Lazlo LaRouze

    Another man wanting to dictate to women what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. How about it's none of your business, it's a personal choice.

    March 21, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Shane

    All of these female Democrats who support abortion rights that met with the speaker saying that they will "bolt from the bill" if anti abortion language were tied to it, should be named so that we know who the enemy is.

    March 21, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. jp,michigan

    Mr. Stupek your days to will be numbered if you vote yes!

    March 21, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. E Kerley

    Stupak is one of the biggest idiot around. He is trying to stretch his 15 minutes of fame to an hour. I'm ashamed he calls himself a democrat. I'll be sending money to anybody that runs against him.

    March 21, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Michael Newman

    Geeze.. this anti-abortion crowd are the same folks who foisted prohibition on us as the evil taking over America. If they care so much about unborn children why do they never support child care programs, free lunch programs for poor school kids, quality education for all kids and quality health care for children? Why don't they support the Roman Catholic Church's social agenda to care for the poor and elderly ? Double standard, I guess

    March 21, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. jan

    Suppose that this congressman will feel so righteous –
    he was able to stop abortion of a couple of cells, but thousands of live children will not be able to get healthcare.

    One has to wonder about the mentality of a group that condones this!

    March 21, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Dennis K

    Lawyers, back room deals, airplane trips on Airforce One with the PREZ, wow.. and they call the Republicans big-business, wheeler-dealers... ?? We are all on the road to the end of Democracy.. it'll all be in place, neatly tucked away in the halls of Congress, as Pres Obama makes sure the government will no longer be OF the People! Sad, scary, sickening, disgusting... we're doomed.

    March 21, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Chris in South Dakota

    It's amazing that pro-choice Dems won't budge on this to allow the bill's passage. The federal government has a long history of not providing funding for abortions.

    Catch 22: if the abortion language changes to accommodate pro-life Dems, pro-choice Dems vote "No" and if the language doesn't change, then pro-life Dems vote "No."

    March 21, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. bennie new york

    This is the problem with the Democrats- they're fighting a hardline party and they're a party divided into factions. The Democrats themselves need to be more hardline if they're going to get something done- being pro-choice needs to be a universal ideal for Democrats. Guys like Stupak should have no place in this party.

    March 21, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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