March 19th, 2010
08:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Abortion standoff as health care vote nears

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion."]
Washington (CNN) - The divisive issue of abortion is once again causing eleventh hour problems for House Democrats as they plan to move forward on health care reform.

Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, and a group of female abortion rights Democrats came out of an emergency meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office Friday evening visibly angry about the prospect.

Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colorado, told reporters a vote on Stupak's measure was a "non starter" and said "somewhere between 40 and 55" abortion rights Democrats would bolt from the bill.

"We are holding firm this time," she insisted. "If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands."

It's not yet clear how seriously Democratic leaders are considering allowing a vote on Stupak's abortion language, or in what form.

But Stupak told CNN he is in discussions with Pelosi.

"We had a good discussion with the speaker on the floor," said Stupak. "But there was no agreement and there's no agreement until we see it in writing and we get a chance to massage it."

One possibility appears to be allowing a separate vote on Stupak's abortion measure, which would go to the Senate independent of the health care bill.

If it's an amendment to the Senate bill, which the House is expected to vote on Sunday, and it passes, that could throw the whole complicated but carefully choreographed process of passing health care into flux.

It would mean sending the bill back to the Senate, instead of to the White House for President Obama's signature.

–CNN's Dana Bash, Evan Glass and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: Abortion • Health care
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Sheila NY

    I'm so glad we're getting free healthcare! Not that I personally need it because I have a good insurance plan. Here's why though: we need to keep pumping these free programs out there so people will support us. A lot of people don't go for abortion and gays but if we give them free cash they will still support us, and we can keep having abortions and gays!

    March 19, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Mickey

    Hey Stupak, what part of "there is no provision for abortion funding in the bill" don't you get?

    Doesn't matter...your political career is over.

    March 19, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  3. The Battle against Obamacare begins Monday...

    Passage in the House will mark the beginning of the battle against socialism and Obamacare.

    The states are already passing laws opting out and if the legal battle reaches the Supreme Court, remember what Obama did to them at the State of the Union. Obama and his fellow lefties are
    persona non grata at the Supreme Court.

    Work will also begin on voting out the Dems. in 2010 and voting out Obama in 2012, we can repeal it in 2013 before it ever gets started.

    Looking forward to the battle.

    March 19, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Stupid-pak, you are nothing more than a DINO (Democrat In Name Only); you hide behind this farce of an excuse concerning abortion wording in the bill when we ALL know you have NO intention of voting yes even if your so-call amendment was added in. You are a MAN and cannot have children, no man cares THAT MUCH about abortion rights or restrictions, if you were a woman I could understand but you are not so STOP IT NOW OR BE GONE IN NOVEMBER!!

    March 19, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. j

    Anything that interferes with a woman's right to choose is just plain WRONG. Vote against Stupak in November.

    March 19, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Anthony

    Stupak is as Stupak does. The man just wants his name on an amendment for his ego. The catholic nuns support the bill. You have to be pro life to the people who are alive too you dummy!!! Tell him to take a flying leap!!!

    March 19, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Shelly

    Why is this man so obsessed with abortion? Is he really a Republican in guise? Does he not understand the Hyde Amendment?
    Leave the abortion issue to is their bodies!

    March 19, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |

    I hope they get every vote n the house EXCEPT this jerk so he can ride his "no" right out of Congress in November. This man is a self-serving slime.

    March 19, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. toughlove

    We're an insane society...wanting healthcare for all OUTSIDE the womb while innocent babies are literally torn limb from limb INSIDE the womb.

    March 19, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. Roger in CA

    THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT PELOSI IS GOING TO ALLOW AN AMENDMENT TO THE ABORTION PROVISIONS OF THE SENATE BILL, NOR SHOULD SHE. It would completely derail everything, and I'm sure at this point they don't need the relative handful of votes that Stupak's camp represents.

    Everyone has to chill. The pro-choice reps shouldn't start threatening stuff, and the anti-abortion camp should be allowed to get a full House vote on the stricter language–but in a SEPARATE bill, detached from the current Senate and reconciliation bills.

    I really don't get, though, the Stupak thinking: it is inconceivable that any woman will actually seek out and pay out-of-pocket for a special abortion insurance policy, and to insist on the stricter language is just ideological nonsense.

    March 19, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    They will take away women's rights, then they will take away men's rights. WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE? GOD?

    March 19, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Keith in Austin

    Stupak is a true Patriot and a man of personal conviction. Every other Democrat supporting Obamacare will rue the day when they are replaced at re-election time!

    March 19, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. john

    I guess saving lives by passing this new health care bill is not a priority on the "pro life" agenda.

    March 19, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Steve(the uncle tom)

    This clown can run,but he will never be able to hide now.

    March 19, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. John

    Bart – Do you want to go down in history as "black bart" killer of health care reform for Americans because of some side issue?

    Get with the program and do one thing at a time.

    March 19, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Larry Queen

    No. Absolutely not.

    March 19, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Abortions are already paid for by insurance companies and nobody has ever stood up against them.

    March 19, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. JES

    I agree that we need health care reform just not this one.

    Get it right the first time.

    March 19, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. annie against biased news

    Any democrat who has the integrity, stamina and plain and simple honesty to stand up to this country destroying government rationed health care bill will come out of this mess as a truly remarkable American politician. Those who sell our country down the drain for a plane ride will never be re-elected for anything – not even dog catcher.

    March 19, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  20. Stand your ground Bart

    Make a stand for what you believe or never stand for anything.

    March 19, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. rogerthat

    Please, Bart, hold your ground! I don't want to pay for women to kill their babies, and I don't want the government controlling more of our lives. This debacle of a bill needs to keel over for good.

    March 19, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  22. Phil Arensman

    I did hire my senator Dubin or the apointed senator to scrap like a bunch of high school kids. So much business is not being taken car of while they scap ad play politics. A simple up or down vote would get things going gain. All of the under the table deal being done, to buy vote is out right bribery, to me I thought I sent my senator and represenative to Washington to be my voice it appears they are forgeting who hire them, certainly not the democratic party or the republican party. I finance an office in the district to enable them to find out my opinins and act on them. None of our reprsentitives or Senators in Washington have an Idea of how to run a profitable business after thy have been on the job forover 4 years. Only Representitive who was an exception to this statemen i Dr Glenn Pushd who got out and is now president of Southern Illinois University. When he was on my pay roll I did not aways agree with him but he alwaus had a defendable reason for his position.

    March 19, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. carl

    This is what happens when people pay your rent and now they're in your pocket. I truly think people come to Washington with good intentions, but the money and power takes over and special interest groups make their way with politicians.

    March 19, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. The Lady from Georgia

    Mr. Stupak, women are going to have abortions wheather this bill is passed or not. If you are against abortions fight the abortion clinics and stop trying to deprive 31 million people of health insurance.

    Who has paid for the millions of abortions in the past? Not the government.

    March 19, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  25. Michelle

    But the government is not, and will not pay for abortions. What is Stupak's problem, other than the C Street crap he's been listening to?

    March 19, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |