Stupak, anti-abortion Dems, get a promise of Executive Order from Obama

Historic win close after Bart Stupak

David Rogers, Patrick O’Connor & Jonathan Allen

Health reform holdout Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan announced Sunday that he and fellow anti-abortion Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to defuse the controversy over abortion in the health care bill and will now vote “yes” – which Stupak said gives Democrats enough votes to pass the sweeping overhaul by day’s end.

The move came just after the White House announced that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order reaffirming a ban on federal funding of abortions.

The agreement appeared to clear the final hurdle for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass a sweeping health reform package that is Obama’s top legislative priority – and would mark the fulfillment of a Democratic goal for decades, to make health insurance available to nearly every American.

Stupak (D-Mich.), the leader of a small band of anti-abortion holdouts, earlier had told Democratic leaders that he would vote for the bill after receiving assurances that Obama will issue the order, according a lawmaker close to the process and senior Democratic aides…

…A statement from the White House said the executive order following the passage of the health bill would “reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion.”

“While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented,” the White House statement said.

The executive order specifies that the health care bill maintains Hyde Amendment restrictions barring the use of federal funds for abortion and extends those restrictions to the new insurance exchanges and community health centers…

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