Stupak Announces Abortion Deal, Will Support Health Bill

Posted March 21, 2010 at 3:15pm

Updated: 5:16 p.m.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) announced Sunday afternoon that anti-abortion-rights Democrats have reached a deal with the White House and Democratic leaders and will now support a health care reform overhaul, likely giving the measure its winning margin.

“I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Stupak said in a press conference, backed by other holdouts. The announcement came as the White House said President Barack Obama would issue an executive order ensuring no taxpayer funds are used to fund abortions.

By Stupak’s own estimate, Democrats are now “well past” the 216 votes they need for passage. The agreement also brings aboard Democratic Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.).

Driehaus said he is absolutely positive Democrats will have 216 votes tonight. But he said other anti-abortion-rights Democrats who were not part of the discussions with the president and Democratic leadership may still vote “no.”

“The folks that were up on that stage were the folks that were involved in the discussions,” he said. “[Rep. Dan] Lipinski [D-Ill.] popped in and out, as did [Rep. Jerry] Costello [D-Ill.].”

The language in the executive order was a “group effort,” Driehaus said.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.