Pro-Life Democrats Abandon Stupak But Pro-Abortion Health Bill Lacks Votes

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrats Abandon Stupak But Pro-Abortion Health Bill Lacks Votes

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The number of pro-life Democrats standing with Rep. Bart Stupak against the pro-abortion Senate health care bill has dwindled as Democrats have applied every possible pressure to persuade them to support the measure. With more pro-life Democrats supporting the bill Nancy Pelosi is closer to getting 216 votes.

Stupak told Roll Call his now has only a half dozen pro-life Democrats in his coalition, down from the twelve he has had for weeks who said they would remain firm.

“I don’t know if it’s enough,” Stupak said of whether he can deliver enough votes to defeat the Senate bill and its massive abortion funding. “There’s rumors going back and forth. Last I heard they were short four and that was about an hour ago.”

Stupak also told The Hill that he’s not seen a lot to reassure him about the executive order idea of having President Barack Obama issue a directive removing the abortion funding from the bill. National Right to Life says the idea wouldn’t work anyway.

Stupak told reporters that he has "not seen an executive order" and he was "going to think about" what it would have to include to get his vote.

As Stupak’s talks with Pelosi and Democrats have seemingly failed on attempting to find a way to prevent abortion funding, more members have declared their support for the bill.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, who insisted he was concerned about abortion funding, said he would support the bill nonetheless.

And Rep. Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania also decided to endorse the measure and, according to Roll Call, provided a misleading analysis of it, saying it “continues the longstanding ban on public funding for abortion, a factor that weighed heavily on my mind in recent days.”

Despite the defections, Stupak contends Pelosi is still short the number of votes she needs to pass the bill.

According to vote counts has seen, as of late Saturday afternoon, 202 House members will back the bill while 209 will oppose it. Adding Stupak’s coalition of six Democrats puts the opponents at 215 with nine more lawmakers undecided. One more member deciding to vote no on the bill would give opponents enough to defeat it tomorrow.

Stupak reportedly gathered on the House floor with some lawmakers who appear to be the last of his coalition, including Democratic Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Steve Driehaus and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. Dan Lipinski of Illinois is also considered a part of the group.

In an interview with The Hill, Kaptur said that an executive order "could be helpful, depending on what’s in it."

"I don’t really know how real that is," she said of the idea.

Meanwhile, Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, believes Pelosi does not yet have the votes to pass the bill Sunday afternoon.

She says the remainder of the Stupak coalition is "very solid" against the bill and that another 8-10 Democrats are still undecided for others reasons about how they will vote.

Yoest also blasted the executive order idea in comments obtained.

“The proposal to address the problem of abortion funding in the health care bill through use of an Executive Order is a tacit acknowledgement that the bill as it stands is pro-abortion legislation. Both the President and the Speaker have repeatedly denied this stark fact," she said.

"The American people overwhelmingly do not want to see their tax dollars go toward abortion and that is why Speaker Pelosi cannot mobilize a majority coalition for passage. Her multiple attempts to construct esoteric parliamentary maneuvers to circumvent the clear will of the people is unconscionable. This Executive Order proposal is wrong in principle because it would be designed to retroactively address an issue after Congress, as the direct representatives of the people, failed to do so," Yoest added.

"However it also does not succeed in application. An Executive Order cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions from participating in the exchanges. Further, Executive Orders can be undone or modified as quickly as they are created. This is a blatant attempt to subvert democracy and should be quickly quashed," Yoest said.

Undecided lawmakers include Brian Bair of Washington, Jim Matheson of Utah, Lincoln Davis and John Tanner of Tennessee, Solomon Ortiz of Texas, Jerry Costello of Illinois, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, Zack Space of Tennessee, Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, Mike Michaud of Maine, Marion Berry of Arkansas, and Glenn Nye.

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.

Contact lawmakers via or 202-224-3121

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