Pelosi’s Last Stand: Offers Executive Order on Abortion In Exchange for Health Bill Passage

According to the Washington Post today, House Democrats are asking Obama to issue an executive order restating the federal governments’ commitment to upholding the Hyde Amendment – the amendment that prohibits federal funding from being used to pay for women’s abortions.

Somewhere between 6 and 10 anti-choice legislators, led by Bart Stupak, have been threatening to vote against the bill claiming the bill allows for federal funding for abortions.

Despite the analysis of experts, 59,000 nuns stating their support for the bill as it stands currently (a letter which went completely ignored by Stupak who cannot stoop to listening to actual religious women when it comes to women’s health and rights), editorials from the New York Times and articles from the Washington Post clarifying that the bill in fact does not open the door to federal funding for abortions and even Republicans and anti-choice legislators urging passage of the bill as is, Stupak continues his campaign.

Stupak has been calling for a separate vote to, in fact, tighten abortion restrictions in the health reform bill. With the backing of and strong lobbying from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rep. Stupak has attempted to use health reform as a way to push a strong anti-choice agenda.

Pelosi and colleagues are standing strong in their commitment to persuade Stupak and his handful of supporters that the bill’s abortion restrictions are sufficient. Not only did Pelosi reject Stupak’s request for a separate vote, she has worked on a larger campaign that would persuade Stupak to vote for the legislation as it now stands:

“The intent is obviously to express what we said all along: that we believe the language that has been included in both bills seeks to accomplish . . . that there will be no use of public funds for abortion,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said upon emerging from the meeting. Asked whether the document could win over a significant number of the holdouts, Hoyer said: “I’m hopeful.”

It seems likely, says the Washington Post, that Obama will issue an executive order or statement confirming his commitment to banning federal funding of abortion – which seems more like a toddler asking a mother or father to divvy up a cookie so exactingly right in front of them so they can see for themselves that it’s fair, than our federal representatives debating policy.

Rep. Diana DeGette (CO), a strong reproductive rights supporter in the House, has given her okay saying,

“…she would support that option, so long as Stupak’s provision is not given another vote. “That would be fine by me,” she told reporters Saturday of the executive order.”

Stupak says he wants the talks with Pelosi and the President to continue. Despite their opposition to the bill, Pelosi says she won’t let Stupak and the anti-choice legislators hold up a vote:

Pelosi remained detemined to ensure that, by the time the vote is held Sunday, she would prevail. “We’ll have the votes when we bring the bill to the floor,” she said.

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  • leftcoaster

    I want my $10 back.

  • sschoice

    Not sure if it’s too late for readers to make some calls and write some emails, but at least the links may be of interest.  Here’s a short email we sent to our supporters earlier today:


    We got in today action alerts from several national pro-choice groups regarding health care reform, basically that the House leadership will very soon (it’s implied today) make a a deal with anti-choice Democrats, possibly allowing them to add highly restrictive anti-choice (abortion related) language to the health reform bill. Please check with your favorite national pro-choice group for specifics, but a great deal can be gleaned from these articles and others in these papers (all are articles from today):


    House Democrats seeking executive order on abortion funding

    By Lori Montgomery, Paul Kane and Ben Pershing

    Washington Post Staff Writers


    Obama Rallies Democrats in Final Push for Health Bill


    New York Times

    House leaders shift strategy on healthcare vote

    By Noam N. Levey and Michael Muskal

    Los Angeles Times


    Frenzied push for health care bill

    Abortion one issue as House vote nears

    By Susan Milligan, Boston Globe staff


    Focus should be on the following:


    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

      (202) 225-4131


    House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn



    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

    (202) 225-0100


    Thanks should go to the Pro-Choice Caucus chairs for their help in trying to stall or prevent anti-choice language from being incorporated in the bill:


    U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette

    (202) 225-4431


    Rep. Louise M. Slaugher

    (202) 225-3615


    And also President Obama, to encourage him to back House Democrats who are trying to keep anti-choice language out of the bill:


    President Barack Obama

    (202) 456-1111


    For details on what you might say, check with your favorite national pro-choice group with a bigger budget than we have to follow all the details:


    National Organization for Women


    NARAL Pro-Choice America


    Planned Parenthood Public Affairs / Action Center




    –southern students for choice – athens

  • leftcoaster

    PSYCH! That was *candidate* Obama — the same guy who claimed he never would have voted to invade Iraq, and who swore he’d never vote for a FISA bill with telecomm immunity (except he voted for a FISA bill with telecomm immunity the day after securing the Democratic nomination in ’08).

    So is there any surprise that he’ll suffer a convenient memory lapse on his alleged anti-Hyde provision by issuing an executive order CODIFYING Hyde for the duration of his term(s)?

    Does anyone believe a word this man says anymore?

    From RHrealitycheck:

    “Obama does not support the Hyde amendment. He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.”


    — Barack Obama, December 2007, when he was engaged in horserace with Hillary Rodham Clinton (who would sooner walk hot coals than entertain Stupak-style shenanigans, I should add).

  • jodi-jacobson

    so we can monitor on accountability…and believe me we will


  • leftcoaster

    since there were scant few Google hits on search criteria “Obama repeal Hyde,” even though I have no doubt he made that promise while campaigning.


    Ugh, he’s going to make me stroke out. I just know it.

  • paul-bradford

    Andrew Jackson can step aside, let’s put Barack Obama’s face on the twenty dollar bill!


    The Pro-Lifers are fuming, the Pro-Choicers are fuming, and I’m deliriously happy.  In the years to come, the American people will see how wise it is to guarantee universal health care, and we will understand the difference between respecting conscience and erecting a barrier to women’s health.  Make no mistake about it, we would never get health care unless Obama gave the order respecting conscience.  The health care bill is good for women and it’s good for the unborn.  It also allows health care professionals to do their work without being directed to do something that they believe is contrary to their responsibility to give good care to ALL their patients.