March 21st, 2010
04:20 PM ET
12 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. Perusing-through

    Okay Bart, you had your 15-minutes of glory, now vote YES and move on.

    March 21, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. annie s

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The American people are about to enter the 21st Century, with conservatives kicking and screaming and lying and raising unwarranted fears – just like when they fought against Social Security and Medicare.

    March 21, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. David

    John, the 'match' will come in November!

    March 21, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Jan in Phoenix

    HISTORIC DAY !! Yes We Can. Yes We Will. Yes We DID !! Congratulations Congress.

    March 21, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Im a Republican and Proud of it

    Oh, and CNN, I know you won't ever post anything I write, because you know that people like me are right and you can't handle the truth. Good luck with your so called news station.......I won't be back.

    March 21, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. valwayne

    The corrupt deal has been struck. Rep Stupak has folded on the abortion issue. Obama's Executive order isn't a law and can be recinded in 10 minutes by the stroke of a pen. Rep Stupak has been bought and his YES vote will not only enact the most corrupt bill in U.S. history it will open the flood gate to taxpayer funded abortion. There will now be hundreds of thousands more abortions in the nation. Let's hope the good Congressman and his group of votes got more for their votes than a piece of paper with Obama's signature on it!!!! And lets hope their 13 pieces of silver is worth it!!!!

    March 21, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Anonymous Believer

    Regardless of whether this healthcare bill is passed or denied, we must pray for the Lord's Will in this situation. This is His land, and the laws are mandated by Him. So, He will do whatever He knows is best, in His infinite wisdom, for His children; when I say this, I speak for the well-being of believers in Christ, not necessarily all Americans. I only hope that all might eventually be saved.
    I encourage my fellow believers to pray on this matter; specifically, pray for the Lord's Will. Thank you, and God Bless.

    March 21, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Jim from Seattle


    Now the anti-abortion contigency has no good rationale to oppose the health care overhaul. And the bill won't bankrupt the USA – it will actually save at least $120 billion over the next decade (CBO estimate). It actually facillitates competition (capitalism) so you'd think the GOP would be all for it.

    So, can we expect the tea partiers to stop being dispicably obnoxious?

    Not bloody likely... they wear their ignorance like armour. And big-oil, big-tobacco, big pharma... they know how easy it is mobilize those ignorant fools. Rush Limbaugh and a few Michelle Backmans instilling fear of the liberals. The Confederacy will rise yet again, and again..
    Don't mess with Texas, dad burn-it!
    It's already a mess.

    March 21, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Dee

    Go ahead and vote in the bill that the majority of Americans do NOT want, and that same majority will see you at the polls in November. Goodby Democrat super majority.

    March 21, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Ben

    Hope Stoodge-Pak has flame retardent underwear because he's going to need it, as will the rest of the Dems who voted for this monstrosity. November can't come soon enough.

    March 21, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Randy M.

    Whether it passes or fails, this is an enormous win for Republicans. The arrogance of the dems in pushing full steam ahead directly in the face of overwhelming American opposition to this incremental approach to socialism ensures that the elections later this year will be nothing short of an annihilation. It also arguably seals Obama's fate in 2012. I can't wait until the mainstream media is forced to report the landslides later this year – and again in 2012. I'm almost sort of happy about the bill passing! After all, it can always be thrown out when, not if (mark it), Americans respond in the elections to come by throwing out these closet- (nay, open-) socialists.

    March 21, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Stupak - A Weak Sister

    Stupak was a weak sister from the get-go. Everyone knew he would fold. Any man that sobbed because a nobody like Rachael Maddow picked on him would never be tough enough to stand on principle.

    The United States as we knew it is finished. Welcome to Communism.

    Democrats: Not power to the people, but power OVER the people.

    March 21, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Perusing-through


    May GOD Bless the United States of America!
    May GOD Bless President Obama, V.P. Biden, Sec. of State Clinton, and the U.S. Democratic Legislature!

    March 21, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. sunshine in CA

    I'm in agreement with the Hyde Amendment. People shout, "my body, my choice!" I say, pay for your choice out of your own pocket, not mine!

    March 21, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. The GOP hates America

    Fabulous! The American people have waited A LONG TIME for the problems in our healthcare system to be addressed. I am no fan of Stupak but at the end of the day he found a way to do the right thing and I give him credit for that. Now maybe we can get a public option added in the near future......

    March 21, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. NC

    CNN what time is the Vote? I have to go to Church tonight and pray for forgiveness. I have been cussing Republicans because they LIE. Yes We Can.

    March 21, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    What's really needed is federally funded birth control, for both men and women. When abstinence is not a realistic option, people should be given the tools to responsibly control their reproduction.

    Fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer abortions.

    It's just common sense.

    March 21, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Chuck B

    Boehner sounds desperate. He sounds like a loser. God Bless America!

    March 21, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Mike, California

    Game over.

    This is the last time we will see anyone talk about balancing the budget.
    After today it will not be possible.....

    March 21, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. KS

    This is a step forward in providing medical care to those that desperately need it, however, I can't for the life of me understand how the entire thing hinged on abortion.

    Last time I checked, abortion was a legal medical procedure in the United States, and until that changes, it shouldn't be mandated that a woman must purchase private coverage for that LEGAL service.

    Next up: women will need their dad's or husband's consent to get birth control.

    Aw shucks, let's just throw this facade of equality out the window and let the Taliban take over to make sure women understand their places.

    March 21, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Ben

    Judy – "Religon is a choice, so is abortion."

    No, Judy. It's a child, not a choice. Please spare me more of your morally bankrupt Liberal philosophy.

    March 21, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Marge

    Stupak is scared crapless he is going to loose his seat and HE WILL even tho he might decide to vote for the bill. His primary opponent has gained the support of most of his Michigan district. Just goes to show the republicans are blowing it out their butt when they say if Democrats vote for the bill they will loose. Look at Blanche Lincoln way way way down in the polls and her primary opponent is beating all republicans as is Stupak's primary opponent.

    I guess the republicans think if they lie long enough it will happen...sure as heck not so.

    March 21, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Lisa

    If you want the right to have an abortion, pay for it yourself.

    March 21, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. jojomcgee

    I agree with the Democrats. A dead baby is a good baby. Fools all.

    March 21, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Garry

    What an abomination. Abortion is (thankfully) still a Constitutionally protected procedure, yet it is always singled out for heavy restrictions at times like these. And Stupak is nothing less than a wretched human being, who should NEVER be allowed to have such power over the reproductive rights of women.

    This country is SERIOUSLY messed up, thanks to fanatics in the Bible Belt and those who share their beliefs, who cry about the "rights of the unborn" yet who cherish the right to carry guns as the most important right of all. Other nations around the world look upon our society in horror.

    March 21, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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