Bart Stupak: Democrats Killing Health Care Bill over Abortion, I’m Still a No Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bart Stupak: Democrats Killing Health Care Bill over Abortion, I’m Still a No Vote

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 19
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — In a new interview with "Good Morning America" on Friday morning, leading pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak said he is open to working with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on banning abortion funding under the Senate health care bill. But if she refuses to negotiate, he and other pro-life Democrats will vote no.

Stupak is the author of the famous amendment that banned abortion funding under the House measure but did not make the Senate version.

As the House prepares to vote on the Senate bill, Stupak has repeatedly tried to get Pelosi to consider allowing language to ban abortion funding, to no avail.

"There’s still no change," he said of a deal and how he and about 10-12 other pro-life Democrats stand against the bill because of it. My group is holding firm."

"I want to pass health care… but there’s a principle that we do not want to cross," Stupak added.

"There is renewed interest in that piece of legislation that I and a number of us are ready to introduce. It’s prepared, everybody’s looking at it right now," Stupak said "That’s one way maybe — but we still have to deal with the Senate."

"A lot of promises are made around this town. You got to lock them down, and there has been no lock-down yet," he added. "We’re still negotiating."

Dealing with the Senate is a concern because there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass a sidebar bill Stupak would potentially offer to ban abortion funding under the health care package. That would have the House pass the Senate bill funding abortions and the Stupak abortion ban bill failing in the Senate — a net loss for the pro-life community.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, late Thursday, also expressed a desire to negotiate and is also likely opposing the Senate bill because of abortion funding.

Kaptur told Roll Call she’s “trying to convince her that that would be a very useful thing,” but said Pelosi hasn’t budged on the idea.

“We share a similar thinking, which is that the House language should be affirmed,” she said of the Stupak amendment.

“I want to be constructive,” she said. “We have to find a way to work it out.”

Kaptur seemed wondered why top Democrats didn’t adopt the same rules that exist under the federal health insurance plan for federal employees — which bans abortion coverage.

“Why they didn’t use that, I have no idea,” she said.

However, leading abortion advocates are opposed to banning taxpayer-funding of abortions and pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado said a separate bill is a nonstarter.

“We’re not going to do that,” she said. “We don’t know it would die in the Senate. The stakes are too high.”

Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them.

But the bill contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.

The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.

The Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program.

And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.

Finally, the Senate bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.

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