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. Jesse

    Hypocrite Bart,

    How did you manage to have only two kids??? Ratzinger does not accept the pills as the means of birth control. Is your last name really Stupak???

    March 21, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Kill the Bill before it kills US.

    HUGE mistake

    March 21, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. haren

    Looks like according to Mr. Frum (Bush speech writer) this is going to be water loo for Republican in November.
    Good than we can pass the single payer system in new congress.
    Our country is founded as Socialist country in the declaration of independent.

    March 21, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. barry

    I get sick and tired of women having the "right" to choose. As far as I'm concerned, you make that choice when you decide to have "relations" with your partner. I don't believe there is any reason to have an abortion. That baby has rights the same as you and I. How is it that a woman who harms her unborn child can go to jail for smoking crack while pregnant, but can walk away a free person if she exercises her "right" to choose and has an abortion? We are talking about a double standard here. God decides who lives and dies, not you and I.

    March 21, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. haren

    Some people are calling this wheeling, dealing and arm twisting
    I think they forgot Mr. Daly's nick name 'Hammer'

    March 21, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Bagman

    Regardless of where you stand on this particular issue, Stupak will go down as someone standing up for what he believes in, at great risk. THIS is what I call leadership, taking a stand when you're shot to get shot.

    March 21, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. Bagman

    Regardless of where you stand on this particular issue, Stupak will go down as someone standing up for what he believes in, at great risk. THIS is what I call leadership, taking a stand when you're sure to get shot.

    March 21, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Sharon Phillips

    Great – Millions of more welfare babies!!! They should never have backed down on this!!!!

    March 21, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. susan

    A bunch of middle aged white men without a womb need to keep out of women's issues!

    March 21, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Anti Right to Lifers

    I am about as apolitical an independent can get but I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.

    Out with Democrats and Republicans who use their power to push their own personal religious and moral views on us all. If you don't want an Abortion, for God sake don't get one but leave the rest of us alone.

    I say we just vote out any people(D or R) who flip flopped on their vote for political reasons.

    March 21, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. Lisa

    Unbelievable! It all comes down to abortion? A legal medical procedure that only about 6% of the population could have if wanted at any time in life.The entire country is being held hostage by anti-abortionists who have nothing else to fight about? Or for? C'mon people, this legislation is not about abortion. It's about fairness when dealing with insurance companies. How can this really be so contentious? And how can any legislator–democrat or republican be so dogmatic to keep millions of people shut out from reasonable health insurance over...abortion?

    March 21, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Mike M

    Republicans, such hypocrites. Pro-life but not pro-living (45k uninsured deaths a year in America). Don't want to spend pro-lifers Federal tax dollars on abortions but it's ok to spent anti-war activists tax dollars on unwanted wars and the deaths caused by them. Shame on you. Fix the living. The unborn will have their chance to die under your pro-death concerns for the living.

    March 21, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Richard Eugene

    Uh, yesterday, CNN, you were gloating over the inevitability of the passage of the bill. Now your biased commentary lets you gloat while conceding the bill would very well not have passed had forcing decent people to pay for some feminazi's murder of the unborn not been dropped.

    What will you say if a good number of those 216 Democrats finally have a duh moment and realize they won't be in Congress next year should they vote for this unconstitutional law? Oh, wait, you'll just have your hacks working overtime between now and November writing more media-mythic commentary to try to hoodwink the rather gullible and low intelligence cattle of America to vote with CNN, for liberalism and Nobama.

    March 21, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. John

    Forget the republicans and all the side issues and pass Health Care reform. The republicans have shown their true stripes as the party of no change from their war on the middle class so, freeze them out of all future legislation like they did to the Democrats when they had the power.

    March 21, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  15. Mybodyandmyrights

    Just shows us that men still control women, and the gov't especially controls women. However, I think planned parenthood will make some money and they are passing the bill. I honestly hope people learn to actually care about people now and not CEO's who don't care about them. I don't understand how a majority of people who support the GPO are the exact opposite of the GOP. They are uneducated, poor, unemployed and basically low SES and they support people who support the richest people in the nation and don't care about a thing but money. Capitalism has failed the US and the world and its time to move on. America is no longer number 1 and if people cared enough they would see that and produce change, but they are blind and will be. I hope they can enjoy lower insurance premiums...I am sure they will :o)

    March 21, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. BCrunner

    Just saw Michele Bachman almost cry fake tears. It was priceless..

    March 21, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. susie

    This doesn't seem like a good bill if they had to twist arms of their own Democratic party to vote yes.

    March 21, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Allen in Hartwell GA

    It amazes me that we can let the issue of abortion, which shouldn't be a political issue, drive governmental processes for some people. If they feel that way about abortion they should find some country without the freedoms that we have, such as the freedom of choice.

    March 21, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. This works out fine.

    I only get sick once in a while. Have never in my life met even 25% of the amount required to claim medical expenses on my returns.....

    so I'll pay the fine and if I get sick I will buy insurance, because even if I have a terminal disease that will cost millions to treat, I will not be refused and will have to pay no more than someone that pays for years.

    Great Plan.

    March 21, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    We go to work every day – we have to – we're not wealthy. And we let our representatives know how we feel – via phone or email.

    We do NOT run rampant in th streets with guns and holsters, and fear and lies and threats - we vote.

    And vote we will – we're FIRED UP - and ready to oust the republicans in November.

    March 21, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. BeverlyNC

    Stupak is saving face on a Presidential statement that means nothing. President Obama's statement on abortion is nothing legally binding or does nothing to change the current Federal language which already bans federal funding for abortions.

    What a waste of time and a bunch of silliness to reaffirm a law that already exists!

    Come on Democrats, let's pass healthcare with intelligence, pride, leadership, confidence and go out and tell all of America – we did this for YOU. No Republican cared about you on any issue but we have stood by you on every piece of legislation all year. Democrats are the Party of the PEOPLE!

    March 21, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. Joan

    Ok those guys want to be stern on the abortion rights for women?
    I say women ought to get out and support vasectomy for men!!!!!!
    I'd be the first to sign that petition.
    It has always been men that have forced themselves so women have to have some protection and that's my answer!

    March 21, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Casey

    I don't understand why people are so opposed to this health care reform? Being one who works in the healthcare industry, I understand the need for better coverage for ALL Americans. The big insurance companies have taken people for all their money and they have no shame in doing so. If this bill does not pass, they will continue to do so. It's a sick and twisted cycle which because of this reform, it now has an opportunity to be controlled.

    This plan gives millions access to healthcare coverage, why is that such a bad thing?

    Don't be afraid to go against the grain! Put aside your "personal" religious beliefs and looks at the big picture for the greater good of your fellow Americans.

    March 21, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Richard

    All you Democrats who say "See, told you so!" and all you Republicans who say "Just wait until November!" just don't get it. Doesn't matter if pols are Republican or Democrat. All politicians are the same–they say all the correct things about "caring for the people," but the only thing they really care about is getting re-elected, and how much money can they harvest from the special interests to further themselves. PERIOD.

    March 21, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. New Stupak fan

    Thanks to Stupak et al. for standing up to protect life.

    I am a pro-life democrat who believes in the right to life for scientific, ethics, and lastly, religious reasons, scientific being the most important.

    To those categorizing Pro-lifers as ignorant, religious zealots who think women are second class citizens- you are wrong. We are people who have watched sonograms, read textbooks, and have been amazed by what we have learned... something far more valuable than one's reputation, finances, or comfort- protect life!

    March 21, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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