November 15th, 2009
12:51 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod: Obama opposed to bill with Stupak amendment

(CNN) – As Democrats on Capitol Hill are trying to avoid a brewing intra-party battle over treatment of abortion in health care reform legislation, a top presidential adviser is reiterating that President Obama remains opposed to legislation that contains language preferred by more conservative Democrats in Congress.

In an effort ensure passage of the health care reform bill in the House, last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi permitted a group of approximately 40 anti-abortion Democrats to present an amendment that prohibits any insurance plan offered on a new health insurance exchange from offering coverage for abortion. The amendment is named after one of its sponsors, Bart Stupak of Michigan.

After the Stupak amendment passed with an assist from many House Republicans, more progressive, pro-abortion rights Democrats in the House and the Senate began organizing in an effort to eliminate the provision from the final version of the bill that will be voted on by both chambers and presented to President Obama for his signature. Abortion rights advocates regard the Stupak amendment as changing the status quo, a longstanding compromise between the two sides in the abortion debate. The compromise is best expressed through the Hyde amendment, a rider to an annual spending bill. The amendment, which is renewed every year, prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion and has, for many years, prohibited the federal government from paying for abortions as part of the Medicaid program. But abortion rights activists say the Stupak amendment goes further, effectively prohibiting even individuals who are using their own money to buy coverage on the exchange from obtaining coverage for abortion.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Obama adviser David Axelrod reiterated the president’s position on how abortion should be handled in the debate over health care reform.

“The president has said repeatedly, and he said in his speech to Congress, that he doesn’t believe that this bill should change the status quo as it relates to the issue of abortion,” Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “He’s going to work with the Senate and the House to try to ensure that at the end of the day the status quo is not changed.”

Asked specifically whether the Stupak amendment changed the status quo, Axelrod replied “I think it’s fair to say the bill Congress passed does change the status quo. But I believe there are discussions ongoing as to how to change it accordingly.”

King asked Axelrod whether the president would sign a final health care bill that contains the Stupak amendment. Likening it to Obama’s position on the public health insurance, Axelrod said Obama “believes both these issues and can and will be worked through before [the final bill] reaches his desk.”

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. jajja

    wait..i thought the president said that he does not want governement to subsidize abortion...yet, he will not sign a bill with a stupak admendment? what's up with the double talk mr president!!!! i hope you're not just wavering with the political wind out there....get a spine and execute!!!

    November 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Shana

    51% of the population cannot be effectively stripped of legal rights based on the religious views of a faction in a country founded on separation of church and state. This is a transparent attempt to abridge reproductive rights...with an amendment to a healthCARE bill. If someone is opposed to abortion, he or she is free not to have one. The rest of us would like to keep all available options.

    November 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Compromise

    He'd better get used to it as there will be no reform bill without it. The "Blue Dog" Democrats will join up with every GOP Senator and it's "DOA".

    November 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. victim of republican greed

    I have to agree with Obama on this one.

    November 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. New Yorker

    Axelrod said Obama “believes both these issues and can and will be worked through before [the final bill] reaches his desk.”

    How's that for the Chief's response? Kind of like voting "present".

    November 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Obama = Abortion

    If you are for Obama, you are for abortion. If you are against abortion, you must stand against Obama. If abortion is important to you, there is no middle ground.

    November 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. 30 Year Veteran

    Once one or in this case a Nation turns away from God then they are doomed to die and burn in Hades. No way should insurance cover abortions unles for health or rape should be allowed.

    November 15, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Tear Down the GOP Orange Curtain CA

    What's next Tom DeLay is going to come out of retirement and dodge his criminal indictments to start another national debate on wedge issues?
    The GOP leadership will do anything to avoid a real discussion on healthcare and will hide behind the Stupak drama to stall for time and find creative ways to stifle the real debate.

    November 15, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Fed Up

    Of course he is opposed to it. There is a great need to kill unborn children in this country, isn't there? The innocents that have done nothing to anyone are on the kill list, but prisoners who have killed others should not meet the death penalty. Gee, it's nothing more than a post-natal abortion. What's the problem?

    November 15, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. SOL

    Bring it on. Democrap slap down will kill this bill and America can then rest easy that one less brick in the wall has been set in place.

    November 15, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Henry

    It is quite amazing how Democrats can veer so far to the right. Stupak is an example. If you do not want to be a progressive and want to do the bidding of the Republicans, please become one. But please don't masquerade as someone with intellect when you are clearly someone from the party of emotion. Stupak makes me sick.

    November 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Mike

    It is items like this that will sink health care. The Courts have already granted individuals the right to slaughter the unborn, its time to let them take responsibility for their actions and pay for it and not ask the taxpayers for a bailout. Rights without responsibilities is at the core of a collapsing America at every level.

    November 15, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    The ONLY complication/consideration, in my mind is that the amendment is unconstitutional. Denying a woman any specific kind of care would be discrimination.
    The simple solution (and the one that will save the taxpayer the most money) is to leave the amendment out and save the time and money involved in litigation.

    November 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. katiec

    Good for our President.
    This bill should be declared unconstitutional. Absolutely no one has the right to tell an individual on how they can spend their private
    money. And, last I heard abortion was legal. Although I do not
    believe abortion should be allowed with government funding unless rape, incest or lives involved, this is another slap in the face of women by the radical religious and hard right. No one should be able to tell someone what they can do with their body. Religions disagree and the one we disagree with cannot be allowed to shove their beliefs down our throat.
    I do not see the ones so against abortions standing in line at the orphanges to adopt, nor do I see them caring about the lives lost
    in an unwarranted war and people unjustifyably being put to death.
    It is just another put down on women and their rights. Enough.

    November 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. ib

    Who cares what Axelrod thinks. Obama would be a lot better off without this far left wingnut. He has a problem with pouring a little water up someones nose but no problem in killing babies. Abortion should be used only to save a woman from death or maybe in a case of rape or incest. Taxpayer money should be not used for abortion when it used as a form of birth controll or some woman and man does not use proper protection.

    November 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Jenn, Philadelphia

    How about the fact that the bill will cost more than the one trillion dollar limit the President imposed? Will that prevent him from signing it? How about that it will create cuts in benefits to seniors? How about that it will cause costs to actually rise instead of decrease, like promised? How about the fact that it will do none of the things promised? If he continues to sacrifice those that pay taxes to benefit those that don't, he may find in 2012, that those who pay taxes will sacrifice him.

    November 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Alex

    Of course he opposes it – it's totally unconstitutional. Abortion is a legal and constitutionally protected right. If a bill passes with this kind of sexist and unconstitutional provision, guaranteed there will be lawsuits popping up everywhere declaring it as unconstitutional. And it absolutely is!

    And I'm sick of people saying "I don't want my tax $$ going to pay for abortion." I don't want my tax $$ going to pay for wars that kill innocent women and children!!! But guess what? If congress approves it and it's constitutionally protected, I don't have a choice!

    America AND the Constitution: love it or leave it!

    November 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    IF you are truly anti-abortion, you would strongly support the public option. IF you love these otherwise aborted babies so much, you will want to take care of these babies and their parents without any strings attached.

    November 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Joanna in PA

    Me too! Stop trying to make women second class citizen you obtuse conservatives.

    November 15, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. fumblinstumblinoidiot

    Just keep on worshiping abortion democrats..its the only platform your party has left to stand on

    November 15, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Emma

    Obama continues to demonstrate how reasonable and rational he is as a President. He has qualities that are hard to match even in "experienced"
    politicians, whose mistakes in judgement have been repeated multiple times.

    November 15, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. C Spurgeon

    This is a health bill, not an abortion bill. I am an independent who supports the right to choose even though I don't believe in abortion. I do not believe it is my place to tell others but do not want my tax dollars used for paying for abortions. Why don't we pay for birth control instead. Agin lets get back to a serious health bill, not get thrown off by abortion debate.

    November 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Mitchell from MS

    Oh please do this!!! It will guarantee the bills doom. What a dolt !

    November 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |