Stupak Wants Separate Abortion Bill or He Won't Support Health Care Bill

Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the House Democrat opposed to the health care legislation because of its abortion language, says his group of about a dozen lawmakers is still "holding firm" against the bill.

Unless he can "lock down" proof from Democratic leadership that they will change their health care reform package to add more abortion coverage restrictions, he and 12 other anti-abortion rights Democrats will vote against the bill, Stupak said this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"A lot of promises are made around this town," he said. "You've got to lock them down."

Stupak successfully altered the House health care bill language last year to add strict constraints to abortion coverage in health insurance plans. The Senate has looser language, but many, including 59,000 Catholic nuns, say it still keeps federal funding out of abortion.

Since the House this weekend will vote on the Senate bill, as well as a reconciliation "fix it" bill with no changes to the abortion language, Stupak is exploring ways to separately address the issue. He said that 10 days ago, he presented House leaders with a plan to take a vote on a separate bill that would change the Senate language.

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"There is renewed interest in that piece of legislation that and I and a number of us are ready to introduce," he said. "It's prepared, everybody is looking at it right now."

However, he said he needs more than just a promise that the House will take a vote on the separate bill.

"It has to be passed before the president would sign the Senate bill," he said.

Stupak has said in recent days that his life has been a "living hell" because of his fight to uphold his principles. However, he said today he will not be backing down.

"No public funding for abortion," he said. "Keep that that principle intact, and you can probably get our vote. Probably."

More Coverage of the Health Care Reform Debate:

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Obama Deploys Personal Presidential Touch
Dem Health Care Bill Pegged at $940B Over 10 Years
Washington Unplugged: Nancy Cordes on the Final Countdown
Dueling News Conferences
Obama Cancels Foreign Trip for Health Care Push
Pelosi: Health Care Bill "Best Initiative" for the Economy
GOP Plots Ways to Fight Health Care
Obama's Health Care Plan: What Do You Think?
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