Pro-Life Democrat Challenges Obama to Tell Congress to Stop Abortion Funding
by Steven Ertelt
October 2, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democratic congressman who is leading the fight to stop abortion funding in health care, isn’t confident about his prospects for success of getting an amendment to do that. So he is challenging President Barack Obama to make good on his promise of no abortion funding.
As LifeNews.com reported, Stupak got a meeting this week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss his request for an amendment to get the abortion funding out of HR 3200.
The meeting didn’t appear to go well as a Democratic aide said to expect that the abortion funding will remain in the health care reform bill.
Now, Stupak is talking about that meeting and saying the prospects for his amendment appear dim and he wants Obama, with whom he recently spoke on the phone, to back up his September speech claiming there will be no abortion funding.
He said Pelosi did not promise him a vote on his amendment, though she did not rule one out.
The Michigan lawmaker confirmed that Pelosi wants him to work on a phony compromise called the Waxman amendment that pro-life groups are already opposing.
"Unfortunately, I don’t see a clear resolution right now," Stupak told U.S. News and World Report. "But I’m going to go back to what the president said: no public funding for abortions. And that’s the Hyde Amendment."
With a House committee defeating his amendment to stop abortion funding, the next step is to get the House Rules Committee to authorize a vote for his amendment on the floor.
"I’m prepared to go to the Rules Committee and offer the Hyde Amendment. I’m not too sure I’ll get very far because no right-to-life amendments have been made to order all year," he said.
"I’m not very confident. I still think somewhere along this process, and hopefully before the first vote on the House floor, the president should weigh in," Stupak told U.S. News. "We need presidential leadership."
"We really need the strength of the presidency to say, ‘Here’s what I need in this bill to sign it, and here’s the language I would agree to,’" the pro-life lawmaker continued. "But what the president said on September 9, I can live with that and I can vote for that. But I’m not seeing that fully reflected in HR 3200."
Stupak talked about his phone call with the president and expanded on a controversy about whether Obama’s speech and his promise for no abortion funding was talking about the current bills in Congress or something else.
During the call, "I brought up the fact that when he spoke to the nation on September 9 he said, ‘Let me verify one more rumor, that there will be no public funding for abortion,’" Stupak said.
"And so I asked him to clarify that because it’s sort of the opposite of H.R. 3200," he added. "And he indicated to me that yes, he understands that and when he talked about that line he said ‘my plan.’ But the president has not put forth a plan, so it wasn’t really clear."
"And so my question was, was he just reading H.R. 3200 and was he not briefed on the Capps Amendment and he said, ‘No, no, I know the Capps Amendment,’" Stupak added.
Stupak told U.S. News: "The president did not get into the argument whether the Capps Amendment covers abortions or not. He never went there. He just said, ‘We have enough other arguments going on with the bill, let’s work this one out.’"
Stupak has threatened that, if he does not get an assurance that House members can vote for his amendment, he and as many as 40 Democrats will join House Republicans to vote against the rules for debate on the bill and the bill itself.
The threat could work: if 40 of the 256 current Democrats in the House joined the 177 Republican members in opposing the rule or the bill, Pelosi and her pro-abortion allies would lack the 218 votes needed to approve the rule or the bill.
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