Antiabortion U.S. House Democrats stuck deal with White House, to support health bill

08:34, March 22, 2010      

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A last hold-out group of antiabortion Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, announced Sunday they've struck a deal with the White House for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order on abortion, giving Democratic leadership a much needed boost to pass the health insurance bill later in the day.

Saying he has always supported health care reform, Stupak, flanked by six colleague in the House, told a press conference they "have an agreement" with the White House to make sure "there will be no public funding for abortion in this legislation."

The White House, minutes before Stupak went before cameras, release a statement saying Obama will be issuing the executive order after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will "reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion."

Stupak's group is concerned of lack of strong antiabortion language in the Senate version of the health reform bill set to be voted in the House later in the day. They have resisted supporting it, and has become the last hold-out group with real, fixable concerns.

To address the concerns, Democratic leadership has negotiated a deal to win over their support. With the executive order, while the legislation as written maintains current law, additional safeguards will be provided to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented.

The House has convened a rare Sunday session in the afternoon, with the vote on the reform bills scheduled to happen later in the day. The antiabortion group is a crucial group of Democrats whose votes could tilt the balance of the vote, which is expected to be extremely close.

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