Pro-Life Democrat Promises Again: No Abortion Funding Ban, No Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 10, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Promises Again: No Abortion Funding Ban, No Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 10
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The leader of the caucus of pro-life Democrats in the House is repeating the promise he made over the summer. If the pro-abortion Democratic leaders fail to include language to prevent abortion funding in the government-run health care bill, he and his colleagues will block the legislation.

That’s the promise coming from Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who has long been at the forefront of pro-life efforts.

"What I’ve told the speaker and the leadership and the administration is first of all you have to give us that vote," Stupak told CBN News about the desire for an amendment to stop the abortion funding.

"If you don’t give us the vote, everything is off the table," he said.

Stupak is also concerned about bill language that would leave it up to the Obama administration or bureaucrats to determine if abortions are funded or abortion coverage mandated.

"I don’t want any back door policies," he told CBN News.

"I’m just very caution on this because, in every appropriations bill that we put our right to life riders (as we call them) to prevent public funds for abortions — every time we’ve tried to do it this year, under this current administration, we’ve sort of been denied the opportunity to present our amendments or we have some watered down language.

"And we’re very cautious and we want to see the language and we want to work with pro-life groups. We want to make sure we are doing everything right because this will be a policy for the whole of the United States," the pro-life Democrat continued.

Stupak told the Christian network the current abortion funding language in HR 3200 is a "drastic change from where we’ve been as a nation as far as public funding for abortions.

He said he and other pro-life lawmakers will not promise a vote on the final bill until they have a chance to read it and determine if it "does anything to jeopardize the sanctity of human life — at the beginning of life or the end of life."

In July, Stupak told CBS News that a total of 40 Democrats could be prepared to vote against the final health care restructuring bill if it does not exclude abortion funding.

Stupak said he is confident he will have "a minimum of thirty nine" Democrats who will join him in opposing the bill.

"If there is not direct language and we are denied our amendment we will focus our attention on the rule," Stupak warned.

Stupak said the pro-life and moderate Democrats would "demand" an up or down on the abortion funding limits before allowing the health care bill to move forward.

Before a bill can be debated on the House floor, the House Rules Committee adopts the rules for debate and Stupak’s warning could mean votes against the rule both in committee and on the floor before the debate on the bill could get underway. That would block the legislation and could defeat the entire bill.

Stupak’s number of 40 Democrats likely includes the 20, including him, who signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in June saying they will not support any health care restructuring bill that does not explicitly prevent abortion funding and coverage.

Pelosi received another letter from four more Democrats who didn’t make the same absolutist statement but urged that abortion limits be included.

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