WH requested Stupak 'not say anything' on abortion, congressman says

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Tuesday the White House asked him to "hold off for a while and not say anything" about the abortion language in the Senate's healhtcare bill.

The Obama administration reportedly asked the Michigan congressman to withhold judgement on the provision until "they [had] a chance to try to sell me the language," he explained -- a request Stupak later said he denied.

ADVERTISEMENT
"I don’t need to have a conference with the White House," Stupak told CNSnews.com. "I have the legislation in front of me here.”

"The asked me just to hold off for a while and not to say anything about the language, but as soon as the news broke... folks were asking me, and I'm not going to run from the issue," the congressman added.

Stupak has occupied center stage in his chamber's debate over abortion in Democrats' healthcare reform bill. His tough stance has put him at odds with many in his own party, who feel his abortion amendment far exceeds prevailing federal law.

The Senate's healthcare bill contains restrictions that would also prevent federal dollars from funding abortions, but the proposal is a bit different -- and somewhat less aggressive -- than what Stupak offered. Consequently, Stupak said Tuesday he does not support that iteration of the rule, and he vowed on Tuesday to fight it, noting his party's leadership needed pro-life votes in order to pass a healthcare conference report.

"Members who voted for the Stupak language in the house... feel very strongly about it," the congressman said, noting 10 to 12 Democrats would vote against a conference report without his amendment -- a concern, seeing as the original bill only passed the chamber by three votes.

"We are not going to just abandon it in the name of healthcare," Stupak added.