March 21st, 2010
04:20 PM ET
13 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. Kathy

    This bozo never had any intention of voting no. Those aborted babies will be on you bozo. He was just wanting to get his 15 minutes of shame. Well I hope he can kiss his job goodbye.


    March 21, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. DL60

    Big insurance wins again!
    They now get 30 million more people on their dole that WE pay for.
    How is that insurance reform?

    The people lose...again.

    But yep, history was made.

    March 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    We all knew he would eventually be bought off, or just crumble for lack of a spine. Sad day for America when a party's prestige is put above country. ..........Vic in Nashville, Tn. -You're wrong, this debacle willl strengthen the GOP and Multiply the ranks of the Tea Party. THE MAJORITY of Americans don't want Socialized Healthcare.

    March 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. James

    Stupak is a traitor to his own principles. He knows full well that this executive order is worthless. Nobody is fooled. Executive Orders CANNOT trump the actual text of a statute.

    Any member of Congress who votes for this should know that WE WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE. America opposes this unconstitutional bill, and we will throw EVERY member of Congress out who supports it. We may not even wait until November!

    March 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Great Day

    It is absurd that it took months of bludgeoning to raise this bill out of the stupidity crater created by that alaskan embarrassment and her equally simpleminded devotees. The destructive political posturing that dragged this through the legislative sausage machine does not reflect well on our elected officials.

    Enough. Way overdue to put this in action and protect the weakest of our citizens. America is better than the greedy, angry, hateful mobs that would throw our neighbors, co-workers, and children to the street for lack of affordable healthcare.

    Bravo, President Obama!

    March 21, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. Dark

    It is a dark day for America, this bill will be an economic disaster for small and medium business, which when added together, are the major employers. I guess when no one has a job, the government will pony up for the insurance.Wonder how they will pay for it ? The leaders of this country have no clue about managing anything.Just hope America survives the next 3 years 9 months. Idiots.

    March 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. Joseph Putnam

    large groups of stupid people are dangerous..hence they dont even know how their going to pay for it first

    March 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. Dwight Adair

    I predict that the Republican Party has just shot themselves in the foot. Once American citizens begin enjoying the individual benefits of the Health Care Bill, word of mouth will spread. The Democrats will have
    an historic piece of legislation that they passed for the American people and the Republicans will be remembered for their obstructionism...and will have shot themselves in the foot, bleeding all through next November and beyond.

    March 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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