Bart Stupak Says He Will "Hold Firm" on Banning Abortion Funding in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bart Stupak Says He Will "Hold Firm" on Banning Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 21
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Should the Senate ultimately pass its pro-abortion health care bill at the end of the week, the next step for the measure will be a conference committee that will produce a final version of the legislation. When the House votes on it, pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak says not to expect him to compromise like Sen. Ben Nelson did.

Nelson has come under fire for compromising his position against the bill over its abortion funding and becoming what is expected to be the 60th vote for it.

Stupak, like Nelson, sponsored an authentic ban on abortion funding under the legislation, but his received House approval while Nelson’s was defeated. Unlike Nelson, Stupak says he will "hold firm" on the ban.

“We are going to hold firm and make sure the Stupak-Pitts language stays when this legislation comes back to us. We will not vote for this bill if that language is not there,” Stupak promised.

When asked how negotiations will take place should the conference committee send a bill to the House and Senate without his abortion-funding ban in place, Stupak said he won’t bend.

“We’ll have a conversation if it comes back that way,” Stupak said. “Not a negotiation; a conversation.”

In reacting to the Nelson language that will likely be added to the bill through the Harry Reid manager’s amendment tomorrow, Stupak said on Saturday that he opposes it.

“While I and many other pro-life Democratic House members wish to see health care coverage for all Americans, the proposed Senate language is unacceptable," he said.

‘A review of the Senate language indicates a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage," he explained. "Further, the segregation of funds to pay for abortion is another departure from current policy prohibiting federal subsidy of abortion coverage."

With Nelson’s "sellout" in mind, pro-life advocates are already challenging Stupak not to compromise his position as well.

Deal Hudson, a Catholic writer, said Stupak’s response opposing the Nelson deal "provided moral and religious clarity at a crucial moment in the history of our nation and Church."

Hudson urged him to oppose the health care bill without a true abortion funding ban and to move his colleagues to do the same.

"In all likelihood, your resolve and leadership is going to be tested when the health-care bill passes in the Senate, passes through conference, and returns to the House for a final vote. Sixty-three Democrats joined you in supporting your amendment banning federal funding for abortion, but the amendment itself added only ten new votes to the total," he noted. "Nonetheless, if those ten votes remain constant (including your own), the health-care bill, in its present form, cannot pass the House."

"If the House, following your leadership, rejects this bill because of federal funding of abortion, it will help correct much of the widespread confusion about Catholic teaching," Hudson writes today.

"I hope you will continue to look beyond the political upside or downside of your efforts to remove abortion funding from health-care reform. None of those calculations can matter in the face of the unborn child," he concluded.

With Nelson abdicating his potential position as a hero for the pro-life community, Stupak is in a position to earn that accolade. Time will tell if he will accept the honor.

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