WASHINGTON – A leading Democratic abortion foe in the House says he has reached agreement with the White House and party leaders to make sure health care legislation does not permit the use of federal funds for elective abortions.
Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan said Sunday the agreement means he can now support a health care bill headed for a vote on the House floor later Sunday.
Six other Democrats joined Stupak at a news conference, called minutes after the White House issued the text of an executive order that will carry out the agreement.
Stupak said the deal means Democrats will have the 216 votes they need to win a healthcare reform vote on the floor.
"We're well past 216," he said at the press conference.
"Eight or nine" Democrats, including Stupak, will support the healthcare bill because of the deal, according to an anti-abortion rights Democrat, according to The Hill.
"We've changed [our votes]," said Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, who appeared at the press conference with Stupak.
Driehaus said he's seen the executive order and can now vote for the healthcare bill. He said Stupak has signed off, as well, according to The Hill.
The change is unlikely to sway outside groups on both sides of the abortion divide. They do not appear poised to support an agreement between the two Democratic camps.
Both the National Right to Life Committee and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops each issued statements rejecting the notion of using an executive order as a bulwark against taxpayer dollars being used to fund abortion services, according to The Hill.
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