Stupak’s Last Stand: Demands Abortion “Corrections Bill” before Health Vote

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2010 ( - Rep. Bart Stupak has nailed his colors to the mast, and has now demanded that Democrats first pass a law signed by the president that would put up a firewall between federal dollars and abortion providers in health care.

Stupak told ABC's "Good Morning America" with George Stephanopoulos that he wanted to "lock down" guarantees from Democrat leadership that abortion restrictions will be added to the health care overhaul.

Stupak told Stephanopoulos that he will not settle for promises. "A lot of promises are made around this town," Stupak said. "You've got to lock them down."

Stupak said that he proposed legislation, an "enrollment corrections bill," to House Democrat leaders last week, which he said was generating some interest. However, he is demanding that his abortion fix to the health care reform bill be passed into law before Democrats act on the bill.

"It has to be passed before the President would sign the Senate bill," he emphasized. But the pro-life Michigan Democrat added that he had little confidence the measure would get any farther than the House of Representatives.

Failing the Senate approving his changes, Stupak said the White House would not get him and his twelve Democrats to support the Senate bill.

"My group is still holding firm, there are no votes," Stupak said, adding that the position of his twelve has not changed since June 25, 2009, when they informed Speaker Pelosi that they would not vote for a bill that allowed federal dollars to subsidize abortions or health care plans that offer abortions.

He said that his group all voted for health care the first time around, but "we want to continue protecting the sanctity of life."

"My group of twelve here we can make the difference on this vote, but at the same time, there is a principle we're standing up for," he said.

He mentioned that while negotiations are ongoing, "No deal is struck, our resolve is the same."

Stephanopolous asked what it would take to "lock-down" the vote of Stupak and his coalition.

"Protect the sanctity of life, keep current law: no public funding for abortion. Let's keep that principle intact, and you'll probably get our vote," said Stupak. "Probably."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a major abortion supporter, however, does not seem willing to concede any ground to Stupak.

"I haven't heard any of that," she told reporters at a press conference Friday, adding, "There are members who may be talking."

Nevertheless Pelosi stated, "There will be no further changes in the bill" other than technical adjustments for when the Rules Committee on Saturday marks up the bill for a vote.

A vote by the full House on health care reform is expected to take Sunday.

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