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. S Callahan

    Thank You President Obama that you respected the belief of over fifty percent of the voting population and are making good on your word!
    There is a life to born that will give you thanks as well.

    Now, lets get on with this. Insurance for all ( of course after all the quirps are worked out, and a real economist works out the fragile money issues...and a policy maker focuses on insurance reform.)either it's now a step in the right direction now. It's okay, Repubs....God is watching!

    March 21, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Making this deal with the Most Pro-Abortion President in history is no different than Neville Chamberlain claiming 'Peace in our time' after making a deal for Czechoslavakia at Munich in 1938 with Adolf Hitler.

    Obama voted 'present' even when it concerned guaranteeing medical help to babies who survived an abortion...despicable.

    March 21, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Peggy

    We knew all along that Stupack would vote yes for this bill. He just needed the President to give him some cover.....we all know this "cover" is not worth a dime.

    March 21, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. Concerned American

    Abortion is not a religious issue. No matter your stance on healthcare reform, you are a sick individual if you believe that it is alright to kill a human, no matter the age. The ONLY choices should be whether or not a woman spreads her legs and whether protection is used.

    On healthcare reform....we should be much more concerned about our national debt than adding a few million to those who have insurance. Most of the problems occurring in America today are due to irresponsible spending. All of the poor people already have coverage, I see it every day in my practice.

    March 21, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Democrats become relics in November. There will be a bloodbath at the polls.

    March 21, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Eric

    abortion is a personal choice issue because of the fact it's legal. So, lets people pay for it them selves if they chose. GO HAVING A CHOICE!

    We could totally add the day after pill for free that would work. We need to do something since were afraid to teach our children sex ed. But, then again they can just google sex info on their friends cell phones when there not looking.

    We have finally decide to care of the human beings within our country.

    March 21, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Stupak caved on a promise from Obama. What was he thinking? He's just another politician.

    March 21, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Alan T. Will

    You Lie Boehner! Health Care will pass. Now remove the tax breaks for the wealthy to help pay for it!! Go Obamaaaaa 🙂

    March 21, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    So let me get this right. Stupak is going to vote YES for healthcare providing he got the abortion deal? Why does one issue have to hold another hostage. This is a crappy way to run a country.

    March 21, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Roger in Minnesota

    The Dems will win in Nov. Why? Because Dems really care aobut people that are struggling with health isuses and they just proved it by stanidng up and voting for what is right. GOP people just care about themselves. As long as they have health care ins, they don't care about anyone else. If they really wanted health reform, they had 8 yrs to provide it. But NO, they were to busy starting a war.

    March 21, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Jane

    Would someone please explain to the Republicans that abortion is legal in this country, that it is a fundamental, natural right, that women are capable of making serious decisions on their own without paternalistic patronizing "guidance", that our Congress does not report to the Vatican, and that people of all party and religious orientations should mind their own business regarding others' family planning?

    March 21, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. KEVIN

    I believe in a woman's right for an abortion. but I will not pay for it ever..if the govt takes my tax money for abortions then election day I will vote my mind. I just wish those that are in love with abortions were aborted in the first place.

    March 21, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. phillip Marlowe

    Is this TV Land and the reprise of "Let's Make a Deal?'" This is beyond words. Absolutely, pathetic day in America.

    March 21, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. The Calabash Kid

    I know you anti-abortionists believe that Jesus is sitting up there in the clouds with a big smile of approval on His face because you, His faithful servants, are doing His will. I certainly hope He doesn't give you any more political advice, like on outlawing birth control and regulating skirt length. I know you want to tackle those issues too.

    1.5 million women get an abortion every year. One-third of all American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45. I am a man and don't have to worry about unwanted pregnancy, but it bugs me that you all want to tell everyone in the US how to behave and what to do. Don't you have any of your own business to tend to?

    March 21, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. tman

    Son and Judy are right on the money. Enough lies have been told and i'll bet the world will not end tomorrow.

    March 21, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Zach K

    I'm Pro Choice, but I am not hurt about the overall decision about abortions not being federally funded.

    I'm very glad Stupak and Obama made bygones be bygones. Game Over Republicans. The ball is in our court now.

    March 21, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Jared

    It is a choice. Abortions are still legal. But, you can't make me contribute my money to something I think is wrong. If you think it's right... feel free to make a contribution to your local abortion clinic to help those women kill their babies.

    March 21, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |

    Explain to me how an exective order can overrule what new law is be created with the healthcare legislation.I don't believe an exective order will trump law in a courtroom.Abortion will be covered .Mr.Stupak just got suckered for his vote.

    March 21, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. jonathan

    "Now get rid of the illegal hyde amendment or pass an amendment that no federal money will go towards the taking of ANY life."

    Does that include the death penalty as well?

    March 21, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. Jim

    Those who whine about the wheeling and dealing should get back on the real axis. It's always been this way with legislation. Stupak is selfish and myopic. HIs religion is not my religion. Stop micromanaging women! And what does "sanctity of life" mean for you? It seems to mean sanctity of *human* life at birth but you're on your own for the rest of the time, buddy, because people like Stupak will play political games with your access to health care. And that's health care in the U.S., which is excellent where available compared to what most of the world's 6.5 billion people have. If Stupak cares about human life, let's see him adopt kids who are truly suffering. The truly pathetic thing is that ompared to many republicans, Stupak is
    a good guy!

    March 21, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. Dennis, in pa

    Is it november yet? democrats will be destroyed in the mid terms. When this is past and becomes law, For the second time in my life i will be embarassed to call myself an american! And for those who support this bill, wait until the country defaults on it's debt! If you think taxes are high now? Wait until your grandchildren have to pay it back!

    March 21, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. annie against biased news

    Support for stupak's opponent is surging by the minute since his announcement today!

    Bye-Bye democrats – see you in November on REJECTION DAY!

    March 21, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Lazlo LaRouze

    Religion has no place in politics and is undoubtedly one of the worst evils on the planet and Stupak, and the self righteous of his ilk, have no business dictating to a woman what she can or cannot do with her body. How dare you do so.

    March 21, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Moki, Tucson

    Abortion is an issue between a woman and her God. Everyone else should keep their nose out of it.

    March 21, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. Linda

    I can respect Stupak for his beliefs, I understand he wants to protect the unborn... but he is willing to keep healthcare out of millions of those ALREADY BORN to to it! Outrageous!

    March 21, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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