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. Bill

    Can you believe that it all comes down to abortion...

    "Make no mistake, a 'yes' vote on the Democrats' health care bill is a vote for taxpayer-funded abortions."
    House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

    The Republicans are getting the religious zealots in an uproar... their weak minds are just asking to be used for political gain. Morons. These churches need to start paying taxes because they are pushing policy and politics in the government. Ridicious.

    March 21, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Dave

    People fought against civil rights, social security, medicare, and everything else that passed into law in this country that we now hold dear as Americans. These reforms will be the same. Just imagine politicians trying to run on the idea that then forbids people with preexisting conditions to get access to health care. It will be the end of the Republicans.

    March 21, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    There are senators claiming that they will do anything to prevent abortion. They can start tomorrow if they are truly sincere. Why don't they force the private insurance companies from using everyone's premiums for abortions? I think these senators are inconsistent and not trustworthy.

    March 21, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Deborah

    Please everyone let's get the JOB DONE! Get ready a CHANGE GONNA COME! Stop the spitting and the racial remarks! This bill is for all people! Especially the seniors and children and working poor . All the people who are well off , if you lost jobs then you would have to pay into Cobra after that runs out or if you can't pay it any more what would you do ? Your child is sick ? What would you do ? Lets get this done! YES A CHANGE GONNA COME!

    March 21, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. jim atmadison

    The GOP will trumpet this as a victory because they listen to the narrow-minded, and to the ignorant, and to their corporate masters.

    When asked about the major components of the bill, those provisions generally receive a 70% to 90% approval rating among the American people. The GOP lies will soon fade in the face of the truth.

    This is a great day for the Democratic Party.

    Much more importantly, this is a great day for America.

    March 21, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. TJ

    I'm glad that Stupak asked for futher clarification on the abortion issue. As for as I see it, abortion is spelled GENOCIDE in America.

    March 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. zacman

    There is a stark difference between using federal funds to purchase insurance and using federal funds to pay a claim under that insurance.

    March 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Tammy

    What month is Stupak in? How's the baby coming along? Until he can get pregnant, shut up on birth control and abortion.

    March 21, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. josh

    so judy, your saying its okay to kill a living being? im pretty sure every single person down to the 3rd grade knows how and where babies come from. you sound like the typical american who doesnt want to be held accountable for your own actions. grow the heck up and be responsible for what youve done

    March 21, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. susan

    It is a sad day for women in this country. The men in this country decides whether women should abort or not. It is worse than all the muslim countries put together. Does Stupak wants to care of all the childrent in this country who are in foster care?

    If the government wants to really reduce abortion, please make all the Contraceptives free to the needy family. This country will see definitely less abortion.

    March 21, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. Opposition

    Do any of those people who will vote for the government takeover of the health insurance industry give a rats ass that a majority of the American population do want it in the manner they're proposing? Yet, come November, they'll be trying to explain why the voter should send them back to DC. Fat chance!

    March 21, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. annie against biased news

    U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.

    Oh my, wasn't mr. stupak holier than thou!

    March 21, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. joan mcqueen

    As a proud american woman, I am saddened today to see our great country sink to this chicago style corruption. I am going to become pro-active in making sure that my elected official Sen Caper is defeated at the polls. We need to reverse this socialist agenda and get back to our constitution. Next vote ABD (anybody buy democrats)

    March 21, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Jane

    The Republicans are awfully fond of saying "The American People . . . fill in the blank. Since when do they speak for ALL Americans?? Knock it off already, you're not fooling anyone.

    March 21, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Tammy

    All these threats about waiting for the Nov. elections - are there really that many opposed to this to threaten the seats? Empty threats.

    March 21, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. Jane

    Stupak's been had. Pres. Obama is profoundly dishonest and will not likely issue an ironclad order. Even if he did, the order couldn't override anything in the legislation, and he (or another President) could revoke the order at any time.

    March 21, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. JD

    Personally I think abortion is a personal issue the fed should not be involved in either way. But this is all BS and smoke. Sure they don't spend "Fed Money" on abortions. . . they spend it on other stuff freeing up that money to be spent on Abortions. If you think you are not paying for abortions because they don't list it on the Fed money books then you are fooling yourself. As long as they do abortion and take fed money than you are either directly or indirectly paying for them – stop fooling yourself. Whether they take the money from account A or B does not matter, an abortion is paid for folks. . . . so keep lying to yourselves about what this bill will do to us. . . we are screwed if it passes

    March 21, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    Stupak sold his soul to the Devil.

    People of The United Socialist States of Obamerica will soon wake up and realize the attrocity that the Democrat Party did to them today.

    Absolutely abysmal and mind boggling. Hail Comrade Obama!

    March 21, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Terry, University Place

    Yes we can get the Health Care Reform package passed! We spend millions on frivilous causes. It's time to start making sure that Americans have health care and jobs!

    We know that Republicans do not really care about the poor and middle class. They only look out for the rich and the haves! Our Congressional representatives have excellent health care and I wonder why they don't want others to have decent health care.

    In November, we should plan on making a change that we can believe in even if it means voting out persons who really don't care about their constituents or Americans! It's time out for long-term politicians who don't care about Americans. We need change now!

    March 21, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Lance Corporal

    Oh yeah, the majority of the people have spoken! It only took $300 million to buy one vote, $100 million for another, exempting unions from the bill and exempting our elected officials from the bill they wrote.

    On top of that, the people voting on the bill don't know what's in it.. They can't explain it. But they do say we will start paying NOW and we will see benefits in 2014.

    What a great bill....

    March 21, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Shawn

    Yes, it's just awful that now they can't throw you off a plan if you actually get sick, that people with health problems can actually GET health insurance and that' Bu$hes free windfall (at the taxpayers expense) for drug companies is over.

    Yes, Repubs, surely the people will just REBEL in November.

    March 21, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. DL60

    Yep, history was made today.

    So when do DEMS change us from USA to USSR = United States Socialist Republic ?

    March 21, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Bill in Dallas

    You in the media want to make a lot out of this, but the bottom line is the bill passes amd you in the media wanted a big story about the defeat of the bill. SORRY!!!! j

    March 21, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  24. lou Schreiner

    Bart may God have mercy on your soul

    March 21, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. AmericanTaxPayer

    stu•pak   Show Spelled [stoo-pak] Show IPA adjective,-er, -est, noun
    1. Lacking quickness and keenness of mind; dumb.
    2. Characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid pact.

    March 21, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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