Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Optimistic Stupak Thinks Dems Will Actually Include Abortion Ban in Health Bill

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) now says he is "more optimistic" that negotiations with top Democrats in the House could lead to adequate language banning abortion funding in health care reform, the Associated Press reported Monday.

"I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak told the AP in an interview in Michigan.

"The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I," he said. "That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points - we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."

Stupak, the author of the House health bill's abortion funding ban, maintains that leaders will not have enough votes to pass the Senate bill if it is not fixed to ban government funding of abortion with language reflecting the famous Hyde amendment, which includes an exception for rape and incest.

Although Stupak claims that at least a dozen House Democrats will also vote "no" on a bill without the Hyde-like language, it is unclear how such language could be brought to bear on the measure. In order to avoid sending another version of the bill back to the Senate, where Democrats no longer maintain a supermajority, House leaders have been pursuing avenues to pass the Senate bill in the House unamended.