March 22nd, 2010
03:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Abortion issue seen as key to health reform passage

Rep. Bart Stupak led anti-abortion Democrats in opposition to the Senate bill.

Rep. Bart Stupak led anti-abortion Democrats in opposition to the Senate bill.

Washington (CNN) - The abortion issue nearly derailed House Democrats from passing the landmark health care reform bill Sunday night.

Political observers note that if it weren't for anti-abortion Democrats switching their votes to yes - after working with President Obama and House Democrats - the reform bill wouldn't have passed. It was adopted in a narrow 219-212 vote.

Obama threw the group a lifeline in an effort to make sure he had their votes, announcing he would issue an executive order to ensure that existing limits on federal funding of abortion remain in place.

The controversial issue provided an electrifying debate on the House floor as Republicans and Democrats clashed over the deal.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, led the anti-abortion Democrats in opposition to the Senate bill, because he said it would allow federal funding for abortions beyond the current limits of cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. Outside groups like the National Right to Life Committee and Roman Catholic Bishops joined in the concern.

The controversy has centered on whether the bill forces all taxpayers into paying for abortions - by subsidizing insurance policies that pay for the procedure and by funding federal health clinics that might offer abortions.

Full story

Follow Ed Hornick on Twitter: @HornickCNN

Filed under: Abortion • Bart Stupak • Health care
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. eric in Denver

    Why did Barry have to issue the executive order when all along he promised there would be no tax dollars used to fund abortions? Just another lie by this disgraceful president to get another vote on a bogus bill that will bankrupt our country. Oh and by the way Mr Stupak you forgot to mention the funds that were promised to you 2 days earlier. You must have forgotten that while you were making your fraudulent speach yesterday casting a yes vote. You will soon be unemployed.

    March 22, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    (excuse the yelling)




    The Republicans claim to be Pro-life, but they have NO problem about the millions of uninsured Americans who DIE every year because they do not have healthcare!


    March 22, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Steve

    One has to agree with Michael Moore that Stupak is a gutless individual that can't even stand up for what he believes. What kind of back door deals did Pelois give you. Did Stupak consider the fact that an Executive Order can be overturned by the next President?

    March 22, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    BREAKING NEWS: Some Catholics are starting to see Right to Life issues once the bay leaves the womb. Much tougher to deal with than when they're still in the womb.

    March 22, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. JDD

    To clarify why Prolife organizations, (many of which are led and staffed with former and current doctors, nurses and healthcare workers,) continue to believe that abortion can be funded by Federal dollars through this bill:

    The bill essentially says that I cannot use my Federal subsidy to purchase a heathcare plan that includes coverage for abortion.

    But using this Federal subsidy frees up my own dollars for that purpose.

    The claim that this is bookkeeping slight-of-hand is entirely accurate.

    March 22, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    stupack will go down in history as judist.. who betrayed the unborn

    March 22, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Kevin in Ohio

    The democrats are hanging their hopes on a meaningless Executive Order. Do not think for one minute, Mr.Stupak, that federal dollars will not be paid to abortion doctors.

    March 22, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Walter

    Representative Stupak's only mistake was buying into the right-wind nonsense about the bill in the first place. The executive order is just a way to let him climb down without admitting what a putz he had been.

    March 22, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. gt

    i am afraid this man will go down in histroy as the next benadict arnold or judist.....very sad ,,,,

    March 22, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Twister

    They can say anything to get the vote, then twist the definition around to suit their needs, have you ever seen an honest politician?

    March 22, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. DS

    Mr. Stupak finally got it right last night just before the votes on the health care reform bill–this is about health care for more than 30 million Americans who are born and living here right now. Take the abortion politics elsewhere, please.

    March 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Riley

    I live in Michigan and you would not believe how disliked Stupak has become. HE MIGHT LOOSE HIS REELECTION BY 40points or more. OUCH!!!!

    March 22, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Dar

    Stupak is a spinless little weasel like most Dems are

    March 22, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Indiana Voter

    Stupak was suckered into supporting this bill. Don't be surprised if Obama breaks yet another promise and doesn't reneges on his own executive order, if he even signs one.

    March 22, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |