Roundup: Healthcare Reform Bill Passes, Includes Deal With Stupak


Late last night the House passed the healthcare reform bill in a vote of 219 to 212. In the end 34 Democrats voted against the bill, but Rep. Bart Stupak was not among them. That’s because there was a last minute deal between Stupak and President Barack Obama, who promised to sign an executive order after the House vote. You can read the full text of the executive order here.

The Associated Press reports:

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., leader of the anti-abortion bloc, said he was satisfied with an executive order issued by Obama affirming prohibitions in current law and in the health legislation against taxpayer money going to abortions.

“Make no doubt about it. There will be no public funds for abortion,” Stupak said in announcing the agreement Sunday ahead of a vote on the landmark health care bill.

Stupak said he would have preferred to change the law itself, as sought by the bishops and others, but that it wasn’t possible because the votes weren’t there in the Senate.

“We cannot get more than 45 pro-life votes in the Senate. The bishops are right, statutory law is better than an executive order. We can’t get there,” Stupak said. “So what do you have, nothing? Or do you want the same executive order that has the force of law? I’ll take the executive order.”

The Washington Post reports that many organizations condemned the deal from both pro-choice and anti-choice sides.

The president of the National Organization for Women said her group is “incensed” about the impasse-breaking deal between President Obama and a group of anti-abortion Catholic Democrats that seems likely to allow historic health-care reform legislation to pass the House later Sunday night, saying the planned presidential executive order “breaks faith with women.”

In 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign had promised abortion-rights supporters that he would work to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which NOW President Terry O’Neill said Sunday would instead be given fresh weight by Obama’s executive order.

“Obama does not support the Hyde Amendment,” his campaign staff told RH Reality Check in response to a questionnaire from the reproductive rights group. “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.”

Said O’Neill: “President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. Contrary to language in the draft of the executive order and repeated assertions in the news, the Hyde Amendment is not settled law — it is an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America and Catholics for Choice also condemned the deal.

“On a day when Americans are expected to see passage of legislation that will make health care more affordable for more than 30 million citizens, it is deeply disappointing that Bart Stupak and other anti-choice politicians would demand the restatement of the Hyde amendment, a discriminatory law that blocks low-income women from receiving full reproductive-health care,” NARAL President Nancy Keenan said in a statement.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America issued a statement of regret but did not go as far as NOW and NARAL in condemning the deal.

“We regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health-care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska,” said Cecile Richards, president of PPFA. She also said her group is “grateful” that the executive order does not “include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak had insisted upon.”

As a consequences of the deal, Frances Kissling, the former president of Catholics for Choice, called for abortion rights supporters to renew their push to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

“I hope the choice movement now decides to play hardball with Democrats, including the President, and insist that an all out effort to overturn the Hyde Amendment is required if Democratic office holders and candidates want our vote in 2012,” she told The Post. “I for one have decided that I simply will not vote for another elected official until Hyde is overturned and I hope others will do the same. There is no reason for prochoice voters to accept Democratic pussyfooting around on repealing Hyde.”

Meanwhile the Christian Wire Service issued a press release noting reaction from several anti-choice organizations who similarly denounced the executive order, albeit for different reasons than pro-choice groups.

“The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.” (Richard Doerflinger, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Hill reports that on Wednesday Stupak was due to receive a “Defender of Life” award from the anti-choice group the Susan B. Anthony List. However in response to his vote on Sunday the group announced they stripped him of the award.

“By accepting this deal from the most pro-abortion President in American history, Stupak has not only failed to stand strong for unborn children, but also for his constituents and pro-life voters across the country,” Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

“Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this healthcare bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.’ The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund will not endorse, or support in any capacity, any Member of Congress who votes for this bill in any future election.”

March 22, 2010

Arizona Senate to vote on abortion reporting bill KGUN

A look at the health care overhaul bill Washington Post

Abortion opponents, supporters not happy Seattle Times

N.J. gay-marriage battle back in court Philadelphia Inquirer

Egypt to legalize abortion Examiner.com

Ever use a condom? You can thank Bill Baird MassLive.com

Stupak stripped of ‘Defender of Life’ award he was to receive this week The Hill

Not Worth the Paper It’s Printed on: Dems’ Fantasy Executive Order Christian News Wire

NOW, NARAL displeased with Obama-Stupak deal Washington Post

When HIV is deemed a deadly weapon Houston Chronicle

March 21, 2010

Abortion compromise doesn’t satisfy critics Washington Post

Abortion deal helps ensure enough votes for health care USA Today

In Nebraska, issues of immigration and abortion collide Los Angeles Times

Knights of Columbus rallying against ‘immoral’ Philippines contraception campaign Catholic News Agency

Facing Massive Deficit, NJ Governor Proposes Cutting Planned Parenthood From … Catholic Online

March 20, 2010

Kan. abortion foes use strange path to push bill CNBC

Rise in syphilis, cuts in funding a worry in Philadelphia Philadelphia Inquirer

Kern teen birth rates ratchet up as prevention programs axed Bakersfield Californian

March 19, 2010

Late-term Abortion Ban Advances in Nebraska Lifesite

Contraception divide Globe and Mail

State budget could cut AIDS drugs in county jailsTri Valley Herald

Step Closer to Required Condoms in Porn? ABC News (blog)

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  • jgbeam

    is worthless.  Stupak turned out to be a weak man claiming to be  a committed pro-life advocate.  He traded his principles for a worthless piece of paper from a devious president.

     

    Abortion is not health care.

     

    And never will be.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • paul-bradford

    Groups on both extremes are upset with the president and with Rep. Stupak; but I, for one, am delighted that common sense topped ideology.  I’m not alone.  Not every Pro-Life organization has sold its soul to the Republican Right.  I wish you had gotten a quote from Catholics United.  I’m sure they’re delighted.

     

    Jim, I agree with you that abortion is not health care (it certainly isn’t health care for the child!) but I wouldn’t favor this bill if I weren’t completely convinced that it will reduce abortion.  We can never be good to the unborn unless we learn to be good to their mothers — and Universal Health Care is very, very, very good for the mothers of the unborn.

  • jgbeam

    but a bill that increases access to abortion will surely lead to more abortions.  Not until society recognizes that abortion is simply wrong will the numbers go down.

     

    Abortion is not health care.

     

    And never will be.

     

    Jm Grant, Pro-lifer

  • crowepps

    Anti-abortion legislators are using an unorthodox process in an effort push their proposals to rewrite Kansas laws regulating late-term abortions through the Legislature quickly.
    …It’s certain to include requirements that doctors included more detailed information about the late-term procedures they perform in reports to the state. It also could include provisions to allow patients — or their families — who have evidence that their abortions violated state law to sue the doctors who performed them.

    First, there cannot be a requirement that ‘families who have evidence’ get to sue. A more correct way of expressing what actually happens legally would be ‘family members who disagree with patient’s decision about abortion get to sue her doctor and whether or not they WIN the lawsuit hinges on whether they actually have any evidence.’

     

    I don’t have any problem at all with the PATIENT suing if her medical care wasn’t lawful, but medical care is provided to individual patients, and the ‘family’ does NOT own the patient and doesn’t have any standing to sue.

     

    This leaves the way open for anybody who is related to the patient to sue her doctor because they disagree with HER decision to have an abortion. How is a doctor supposed to deal with this? Have everyone who is related to the patient come to the clinic for a family meeting, explain the patient’s health care problem to all of them, and then get a consent form from each?

     

    What if they hate her guts and don’t care, or would even prefer, that she die instead?

     

    This is ridiculous.