Pelosi: No Separate Abortion Vote for Health Care Bill

health care

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET with news of possible presidential signing statement.

As of Friday night, House Democratic leaders may had been ready to cut a deal with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who is conditioning his vote for health care reform on stricter abortion language. However, the Michigan lawmaker on Saturday morning abruptly canceled a press conference scheduled for today at which some speculated he would announce a breakthrough in negotiations. It appears the deal making has stalled for now.

Stupak supposedly has as many as 12 lawmakers who are prepared to vote against the Democrats' health care overhaul if their demands over abortion language are not met, and their votes could be enough to make or break the bill. Yet a number of pro-abortion rights House Democrats vehemently oppose Stupak's proposed changes, and could vote against any measure that includes them.

On Friday Stupak said he would only support the Democrats' health care bill if Democratic leaders promised him that both the House and the Senate would vote on a separate measure to amend the Senate bill to add strict constraints to abortion coverage in health insurance plans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today, however, that she would not allow a separate vote on abortion, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer Jill Jackson reports.

When asked if she would allow the vote, Pelosi said, "Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything."

Reports indicate that Pelosi may have come to that decision late Friday night.

An unnamed member of Congress briefed on the matter said Pelosi had agreed to let Stupak put his legislative language up for a vote, the progressive blog FireDogLake reported Friday night. The Web site also obtained a copy of Stupak's resolution.

This morning, just minutes after Stupak canceled his press conference, the conservative National Review Online reported that two anti-abortion rights GOP members close to Stupak said that Stupak is "finished with Pelosi" and that House leadership rejected his resolution.

Pro-abortion rights Democrats reportedly told Pelosi that she would lose dozens of votes if Stupak's measure moved forward.

A group of pro-abortion rights Democrats angrily surrounded Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Friday night, The Hill reported, and then met with Pelosi.

Stupak's resolution is "a non-starter," said Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairwoman Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), according to The Hill.

"We compromised to the concept 'no federal funding for abortion,' which is current law — we don't like that," DeGette reportedly said last night after meeting with Pelosi. "And so if Mr. Stupak and a few members, along with the Republicans, decide to use this to take health care down, then that loss on healthcare coverage is going to be on their hands."

Stupak managed to amend the House health care bill that passed last year to completely prohibit anyone receiving federal insurance subsidies from buying insurance that includes abortion coverage. The Senate bill includes abortion coverage restrictions that are less stringent: recipients of federal tax credits would be permitted to buy insurance that covers abortion, but they would have to write a separate check, with their own money, to pay for a separate part of the policy that covers abortion.

Some anti-abortion groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, oppose the Senate language, but others, including leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns, say the Senate language sufficiently keeps federal funding out of abortions.

Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee is spending the day debating the reconciliation "fix it" bill Congressional Democrats plan to pass to amend the Senate health care bill. They are considwering a deluge of 90 amendments that have been submitted, 86 from Republicans, meaning the committee may continue its meeting through a visit from President Obama on Capitol Hill today.

The House will vote on the Senate health care bill and the reconciliation bill tomorrow.

UPDATE: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said this afternoon that Democrats are discussing the possibility that President Obama could sign executive order on abortion after the legislation is passed to address Stupak's concerns.

More Coverage of the Health Care Reform Debate:

The Hunt for Health Care Votes: Democrats to Watch
Obama: Health Care Debate is About Country's Character
Obama Has Given 54 Speeches on Health Care
Will Democrats Sacrifice House Seats for Health Care?
Obama Deploys Personal Presidential Touch
Dem Health Care Bill Pegged at $940B Over 10 Years
Washington Unplugged: Jill Jackson and Mark Knoller on the Final Push
Steny Hoyer: Health Care Vote Won't Cost Us in Nov.
CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

Details of the Bill:

What's in Health Care Bill? Take a Dose
Health Care Special Deals: What's Left In?
Dems Include Student Aid Reform Package in Bill
Health Care Bill Extends Tax to Investments
Read the Text (PDFs): Complete Senate Bill | Reconciliation Measure

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