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Abortion Question Remains In Flux

Things are happening very quickly now. Nancy Pelosi came out an hour or so ago and said the deal with Bishop Stupak on abortion was dead, and that there would be “no separate vote” on any measure. Obviously the fury over that option backed off leadership. It appeared that the Democrats were prepared to move forward without Stupak.

But Stupak’s office said conversations were ongoing. And within an hour, he was sitting in Pelosi’s office.

The new deal, which would not include a separate vote, concerns an executive order:

Senior Dem source: Exec order on abortion rights still on the table, under discussion #hcr #healthreform

No further information has been supplied: what kind of executive order? It may be as simple as applying the Hyde amendment to community health centers, which could be enough to peel off a couple members of the bloc. Or it could be something to do with the exchanges. Or it could be just “no public funding for abortion” clarifying language. There’s really no telling. But that’s probably what Pelosi is explaining to the Stupak bloc right now.

It’s important to note that there are several nominally pro-choice Democrats, members who voted against the Stupak amendment, who are either no votes or undecided. They increase Stupak’s leverage, says Darcy Burner, and are functionally voting with the anti-choice community at this point. Stupak’s power only extends to the number of people he has in his corner and the number of people needed to get to 216. So there’s a lot of culpability to go around.

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David Dayen

David Dayen