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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" 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. Al Boze

    How can anti-abortinists care about the unborn if they don;t care about those who already exist? Stop showboating and get real.

    March 21, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Elinor Cullen

    Why does this man (or any man) have ANY say-so about what a woman can do with her body? I know...old question with no answers.

    But abortion is legal in this country. Why should a legal procedure be denied because of the beliefs of a particular individual, or religion?

    What's next? A strict Muslim congressman who lobbies for the burka?

    Keep religion out of government.

    March 21, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Cheryl

    I would be ashamed to be bought and sold no matter what side of any legislation I was on or what party I belonged to. Absolutely disgraceful!!

    March 21, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Jon

    Stupak is nothing more than another Democrat "waiting for a deal". This whole health care bill process is just disgusting!

    March 21, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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