Deal with White House on Abortion Rights Helps Push Through Health Care Legislation

Michigan Representative Bart Stupak, a leader of House Democrats opposed to abortion rights, announced today that he will vote in favor of health care reform.  This announcement came only after a deal was made with the White House.  His support basically ensures the passage of the health care bill.

President Barack Obama will issue an executive order “after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with long-standing restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a written statement.

Under the bill be considered by the House of Representatives, federally-funded abortion coverage for people purchasing insurance through new insurance exchanges would be banned except in cases of rape, incest, or danger of life of the mother.  Anyone receiving federal assistance who wants abortion coverage would have to purchase the coverage using private funds.

Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats successfully defended a “principle that meant more to us than anything, and that’s the sanctity of life.”  Stupak said he had been reassured that Obama’s order will ensure the health care bill complies with the 32-year-old Hyde Amendment, which sharply restricts federal funding for abortion.

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