March 21st, 2010
04:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Democrats reach abortion deal on health care bill


Washington (CNN) - Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, a leader of House Democrats opposed to abortion rights, announced Sunday that he had reached a deal with the White House that will allow him to back the health care reform bill.

He also said the deal will give Democratic leaders more than enough votes to pass the bill.

"We're well past" the 216 votes needed for passage, Stupak said. "This bill is going to go through."

President Barack Obama will issue an executive order "after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with long-standing restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a written statement.

"While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."

Related: Read the entire order


Under the bill now being considered by the House of Representatives, federally-funded abortion coverage for people purchasing insurance through new insurance exchanges would be banned. Exceptions would be made in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

Individuals receiving federal assistance who want abortion coverage would have to purchase the coverage using private funds.

Anti-abortion rights Democrats successfully defended a "principle that meant more to us than anything, and that's the sanctity of life," Stupak said.

Stupak said he had been reassured that Obama's order will ensure the health care bill complies with the 32-year-old Hyde Amendment, which sharply restricts federal funding for abortion.

"This legislation is a whole-life piece of legislation," said Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pennsylvania, an abortion rights opponent who backed the Stupak deal.

GOP leaders argued the deal would do little to ensure taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions.

"The law of the land trumps any executive order, which can be reversed or altered at the stroke of a pen by this or any subsequent president without any congressional approval or notice," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"Make no mistake, a 'yes' vote on the Democrats' health care bill is a vote for taxpayer-funded abortions."

Updated: 5:00 p.m.


Filed under: Abortion • Bart Stupak • Democrats • Health care • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Nick M

    This bill isn't perfect. It doesn't have the public option, which it absolutely should have had, and it doesn't do enough to force insurance companies to keep their costs low, as Germany does. (They have a requirement for how much they have to spend on payouts vs administrative costs, and a limit on how much they can charge, and it's their job to keep themselves afloat). It is not a great plan. It is, however, a good plan, and as Eisenhower once said, "It's better to have a good plan today than a great plan tomorrow."

    Besides, if you think for one second that Republicans would have followed up a winning November election with their own health care reform, you're dreaming.

    March 21, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. interested observer.

    nowhere do I read that they are not allowing abortion. What I see is that no federal money is going to abortion. Why should federal money go to elective surgery? Don't want a baby–don't have sex.

    March 21, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    That is about right, anti-choice "christians" willing to throw all the uninsured children living in poverty to the lions, as long as they can save a zygote which may be brought into this world and die due to lack of good prenatal care and no "well baby" care due to lack of health insurance.

    This heathen is confused by your "living like Christ" examples!

    March 21, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  4. Fred Flintstone

    "opposed to abortion rights" = media bias

    Stupak is not opposed to abortion rights; he is for the rights of unborn children. No one has a right to take away the right to life of another. Life is the most fundamental right. Get it straight, CNN.

    March 21, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. Jerry - Florida

    Mr. Stupak, what a shame. I never thought you would let the Bully-In-Chief force you to change what you supposedly very strongly believe.

    You have let a lot of Democrats down all over this nation. I guess the Liar-In-Chief must be somewhat persuasive. I just thought you were intelligent enough to see between the smoke and mirrors,

    The Bully-In-Chief didn't even offer you a ride in what he considers his private traveling plane.

    At least the other sold-out got a ride on "Air Force One" and was treated to steak and lobster while up at over 35,000 feet.

    Oh well, get ready to pay the piper come November.

    March 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. JTI

    If people get to choose that their tax money will not be spent on abortions, a measure which endangers women and puts those less fortunate in an even more undesirable position, then I don't want my tax dollars going to a war that i disagree with where innocent people are killed.

    Some people get to choose where their money goes based on "morals" which are damaging to women, so why shouldn't I get to choose where my money goes based on my morals?

    March 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. MJ

    Another "Deal" made. How not surprising. Hope all those that support this "Bill" will be singing praises a year from now when you lose your Medicare & Medicaid benefits. May be that you are not worried about a job or paying additional taxes, but there are many who see where this is heading. Enjoy your free ride on those who work hard to pay for it.

    March 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. DB

    Makes sense to me. I don't see the harm in not using federal dollars for elective abortions. A right to choose doesn't mean an obligation for me to pay for that choice. You choose – you pay. That's simple and fair – but obviously a concept foreign to the wing nuts at both ends of the spectrum.

    March 21, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  9. 8 Years of King George II and now the Landed Gentry Scream “Let Them Eat Cake” to the Unemployed and Uninsured Serfs!

    Ok, cons, here is the abortion compromise.

    Two new check boxes on the IRS returns one for "christians" and one for us "baby killers".

    Box one will state if selected, no federal funds can be used for abortions.

    Box two will state if selected, no federal funds can be used for elective "declarations of force".

    You decide which one is actually "pro-life".

    March 21, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. Fatcat

    My sister-in-law's hospital (an RN in south GA) is already 24 million in the hole thanks to medicare underfunding them on payments for their many rural poor patients. This bill is about to take their non-profit tax-exempt status and add to their burden taxing them over a million dollars this coming year-them and all other non-profit hospitals like them. Over-burdoned, underfunded and now a government about to bleed even what's left of them dry. Brace yourselves, America...health care is about to experience the financial efficiency of the postal system with the compassion of the DMV. You get what you vote for. Congrats!

    March 21, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. chedar

    Thank you Mr. Stupak. Thank you for voting for the bill. The legacy of participating this great moment will go into history. You will be proud to say to your children and grandchildren that you voted for the healtcare reform and help many uninsured american to be covered. Good luck to you and your family. I praise you for your deeds and to all the congressmen and women that will vote for this historic moment.

    March 21, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Bruce Gandy

    It is obvious from the vote of 224 to 206 to move forward with the debate that Stupak and his gang of 6 were not needed to pass this legislation, this executive decree is just a "figleaf" for him and his cronies as cover to help hide his failure to impact the final legislation .........

    March 21, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. Sheena

    Everyone knows that this cannot be done , even the congressmen that turned into traitor for a yes vote.
    What has this country come down to?

    March 21, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. ed

    What do you not understand. The government has NEVER operated one aspect of the government without it failing at some level. Now anyone who believes that they will somehow miraculously change has a lot to learn. Is this who you want making choices in your life and wellness. Ask a hospital administrator what their thoughts are.
    PEOPLE SPEAK OUT STOP THIS BEFORE IT HURTS YOU PERSONALLY.

    March 21, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. JLP

    It is historic all right, "The day the old USA died",( to the tune of the day old dixie died.)

    March 21, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. JS

    Yes, it's a historic day for the America– the day SOCIALISM begins as scumbag, corrupt, bribe happy morons allow the worst Government in the country's history to do whatever it wants- despite the opinion of the majority of Americans. The beginning of SCAMerica!! Enjoy it- MORONS! Since you're too brain dead, untalented and pathetic to do anything for yourselves- let your corrupt Govt. take care of you!

    March 21, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. Sheena

    Historic...Yes
    The Day America as we see it died!

    March 21, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. Peter J

    United States of China?

    Marijuana Legalization?

    Let's stay focused my dear republicans

    40,000 people die every year because of the lack of insurance(Thats from Harvard)
    Over 30 Million AMERICANS will not have access to affordable healthcare coverage

    Great News!

    March 21, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Joseph D

    Whatever Obama needs t do to get votes is OK. AFTER the vote his people say the executive order cannot stand. That is good. Now we need to get illegals covered. And we need surtax on all workers to help pay. Taxpayers are greedy. They need to be taxed heavily.

    March 21, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Reality Check

    If this thing passes, some people are going to discover it is not free, and not what they were promised. There is a price to pay for ignorance.

    They always make abortion an issue to negotiate with. Like anything is going change. Regardless of what party is in control, nobody is going to ban abortions. They are too important in population control. The ironic part is that many of the people that don't believe in evolution or abortion, are the ones that will survive. They aren't eliminating themselves. Abortions are for women that are not smart enough to figure that out. If you can't even figure out how to use a contraceptive, I guess they feel we don't need your DNA to move the human race forward.

    March 21, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. Heidi

    What I want to know is, when has tax money EVER paid for abortions? When a woman chooses to have an abortion, she has to pay for it in full out of her own pocket (unless maybe her doctor deems it medically necessary, possibly?). What are all the politicians up in arms about? Taxes haven't paid for abortions thus far, and it will continue to be this way.

    March 21, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. Keith

    Yes. We. Can.

    No more deaths. I swear, if I hear one more selfish republican saying that they don't care about those *dying* without healthcare...

    March 21, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    In California, people have been able to walk into the welfare office and get temporary MediCal for abortion purposes for AT LEAST 25 years. This is not by far the only state where this is the norm. Does anyone really believe that the taxpayers haven't been paying for abortions for ages already? Nothing's changing here.

    March 21, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Nick San Diego

    Dems win Fear loses. You that can;t wait for November to oust Dems are going to be in for a surprise.
    Your group is LOUD, but still in the minority.

    March 21, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. A Middle Class American

    I am proud of what Obama and the Democrats are doing. This is one of those few moments when politicians actually do something good for the people who work had and pay their taxes. The GOP will never be voted into power again... actually they may have to pay back all the bribes the received from the Insurance companies to block the Health Care Bill. LOL! Mitch McConnel and the rest of the GOP should go to Alaska and help Palin watch our neighbors (i.e., Russia) or perhaps help her read every and any magazine LOL!

    March 21, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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