Stupak Seeks Executive Order to Ban Abortion Funding, Dems Still Lack Votes

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

Stupak Seeks Executive Order to Ban Abortion Funding, Dems Still Lack Votes

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Rep. Bart Stupak continues to seek an executive order to ban abortion funding under the Senate health care bill the House is scheduled to vote on today. The pro-life Michigan congressman says if Democrats don’t agree to such a deal, they lack the votes without him and his coalition of several Democrats.

"We are close to getting something done," Stupak said in an interview with MSNBC after appearing to have no deal Saturday. "We’re close but we’re not there yet."

"The possible deal would focus on an executive order that would specify there would be no public funding for abortions in the health care bill."

He said talks about the potential executive order went on late into Saturday night.

NBC also indicates Stupak is hoping the White House releases the wording of a potential executive order by mid-day Sunday before the House votes.

Stupak also said the possible executive order would not just extend the Hyde amendment or make it permanent, as the Hyde amendment doesn’t apply to the health care bill, but would apply his Stupak amendment to the legislation to prohibit abortion funding.

Although some Democratic leaders say they have enough votes to pass the legislation later today, Stupak says they don’t and that he and a group of about eight pro-life Democrats plan to vote no and deny the 216 votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs for the bill if they don’t arrive at some sort of arrangement on how to prohibit abortion funding under the health care measure.

Stupak told MSNBC "there were eight of us" in the negotiating room, confirming that a few of his original dozen lawmakers had peeled off and signaled they would vote for the bill despite the abortion funding and promotion in it.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat working closely with Stupak, confirmed the numbers and the negotiations in an interview with The Hill.

Kaptur said that an executive order "could be helpful, depending on what’s in it."

However, she confirmed the Stupak Democrats have not negotiated with the White House and so everything about the potential deal is very tentative.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Saturday he was "hopeful" that an executive order could help the Stupak coalition support the bill.

But, pro-life groups strongly opposed the idea Saturday — cautioning that an executive order would not cover the health care bill’s abortion funding and skeptical that Obama would ever sign an executive order banning taxpayer-funded of abortion when his first order was to expand it by scrapping the Mexico City Policy.

Leading pro-life advocates say an executive order is a non-starter because it can’t fix the myriad of pro-abortion problems with the bill.

"It should be noted that all of the problems listed in the NRLC letter — with the possible exception of no. 5 (pro-abortion administrative mandates) — would be created by and controlled by the proposed statutory language of H.R. 3590," Douglas Johnsn of National Right to Life told "If the bill is signed into law, these statutory requirements and defects are not subject to correction or nullification by the chief executive or his appointees, whether by Executive Order, regulation, or otherwise."

And the Family Research Council released a letter saying it opposed the idea.

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