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Stupak: Obama's Health Care Plan "Unacceptable" on Abortion

10:26 AM, Feb 23, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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A statement from Congressman Bart Stupak released this morning:

‪"I was pleased to see that President Obama’s health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill.  Unfortunately, the President's proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable.  While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.‬"

Stupak voted for the health care bill when it passed 220 to 215 with his amendment back in November, and he leaves the door open to voting for the bill again if it bans taxpayer-funding of abortion. But it's hard to see how the bill could be changed to meet his requirements.

Reconciliation is only supposed to be used for budgetary matters, not making policy on issues like abortion. It's likely that the Senate would rule abortion regulations out of order in reconciliation. More to the point, it's not clear that the pro-choice House or the Senate Democrats would pass a reconciliation fix that includes Stupak's amendment.

The takeaway? Nancy Pelosi's coalition of 220 who voted yes in November is now down to 215--fewer than she needs to pass the bill--with one death (John Murtha), one retirement (Robert Wexler), one impending retirement (Neil Abercrombie), two switches from yes to no (Bart Stupak and Joseph Cao). Stupak's coalition of pro-life Democrats who voted yes the first time but would vote no on a bill that funds abortion is somewhere between 10 to 15 members. That means Pelosi has, at best, 200 to 205 remaining from her original coalition of 220.

Obamacare's only chance, then, is if Pelosi can accomplish the very difficult task of flipping a dozen or more of the 39 Democrats who voted no in November to vote yes now.

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