By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Responding to comments made this weekend by White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod that President Obama would strip abortion restrictions made to the House health care bill, the author of the restrictions, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), said doing so would only cause the bill to stall on the Hill.
“They’re not going to take it out. If they do, health care will not move forward,” Rep. Stupak told Fox News. “We won fair and square. … That’s why Mr. Axelrod’s not a legislator. He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.”
The Pitts-Stupak amendment, which removed all abortion funding from the bill, was added to the House health care bill at the eleventh hour, and only because lawmakers did not have enough votes to pass the 2,000 page package without the 40 pro-life Democrats who refused to sign on unless a vote on the amendment was permitted.
During an interview with CNN’s State of the Union this weekend, Axelrod addressed concerns from the pro-abortion lobby that the Stupak amendment changed the “status quo,” something the president always said he would not allow.
“The president has said repeatedly, and he said in his speech to Congress, that he doesn’t believe that this bill should change the status quo as it relates to the issue of abortion,” Axelrod said. “This shouldn’t be a debate about abortion. And he’s going to work with the Senate and the House to try and ensure that at the end of the day, the status quo is not changed … I believe that there are discussions ongoing to how to adjust it accordingly.”
The president also said last week that he did not support the amendment.
However, Rep. Stupak believes the bill would have a difficult time getting through the Senate without such restrictions, and said that if it bounces back to the House without the amendment, the administration could lose “at least 10 to 15 to 20” votes.
“The majority has spoken. Most people agree — do not use public funds for abortion,” he said. “You’re not going to summarily start dismissing amendments which the majority of the House of Representatives wanted because some person, David Axelrod or someone, doesn’t like it.”
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