Stupak Announces Abortion-Executive Order Deal, Pro-Life Democrats Back Bill

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

Stupak Announces Abortion-Executive Order Deal, Pro-Life Democrats Back Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Congressman Bart Stupak, who has been leading a coalition of pro-life Democrats against the pro-abortion Senate health care bill over its abortion funding, announced today he has reached an agreement with the White House for President Barack Obama to issue an executive order nullifying it.

The executive order would reportedly make it so the Stupak amendment, which stopped abortion funding and promotion in the House version, would apply to the final law.

"I’m pleased to announce that we have an agreement — with the help of the president and the Speaker — we were able to come up with an agreement to protect the sanctity of life in health care reform," Stupak said.

"Today the president announced he will be signing," the executive order to "keep the principle" against funding of abortion.

Stupak said he thought Democrats already had the votes before he and other pro-life Democrats agreed to the executive order deal.

"I do believe they had the votes before we decided to vote for this legislation," Stupak said.

Meanwhile, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement that the executive order will restate what it believes are abortion funding limits in the bill — disputed by every pro-life group.

“While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented,” he said.

The order claims it “maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges.”

Before Stupak announced the plan, nation’s Catholic bishops and several leading pro-life groups have issued statements opposing the idea.

They say they don’t trust Obama to issue an executive order banning abortion funding in health care when he issued an executive order during his first week in office scrapping the Mexico City Policy and forcing Americans to pay for performing and promoting abortions overseas.

The pro-life organizations also say an executive order technically can’t trump federal law and would not apply to the litany of abortion concerns they have with the Senate legislation.

"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 Johnson 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."

The Family Research Council released a letter saying the executive order would not work and Americans United for Life opposed the idea as well.

Reps. Nick Rahall of West Virgniia, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvaia participated in the press conference with Stupak. They later announced their votes for the bill.

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