Abortion: Who compromised the most?

Did Obama cave on abortion? Or did pro-life Democrats sell out? Sizing up the 11th-hour compromise that won over the final votes needed to pass health-care reform

The abortion battle rages on.
(Image credit: Corbis)

In a decisive last-minute deal, President Obama secured the final votes needed to pass health-care reform by agreeing to issue an executive order assuring that no federal money would be used for abortions under the legislation. The promise won over a small group of anti-abortion Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan. But pro-life activists said the executive order was unenforceable and meaningless -- one GOP House member even called Stupak a "baby killer." Pro-choice activists weren't happy either, with several accusing Obama of selling out women for political gain. Did either side of the abortion debate really win? (Watch a House member call Bart Stupak a "baby killer")

Stupak ditched the pro-life cause: Rep. Bart Stupak "sold out for an Executive Order," says Lori Ziganto in RedState, "a piece of paper that holds absolutely no merit, particularly when coming from arguably the most pro-abortion President that we’ve ever had." This proves once and for all "there is no such thing as a Pro-Life Democrat."

"Stupak and lessons learned: Democrats lie. Chronically"

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Obama's the one who sold out: "President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president," says the National Organization for Women on its website, but with this deal he "will lend the weight of his office" to language in this legislation that will restrict women's access to abortion, all to appease a handful of lawmakers. Looks like Obama's "commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best."

"President Obama breaks faith with women"

This deal didn't change things either way: This compromise merely applies existing law, says Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic, to the new insurance exchanges through which individuals and some small businesses will be purchasing coverage. But the final version of the bill "wouldn't have allowed taxpayer funding of abortion anyway," so the real mystery is why Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats opposed it in the first place.

"With Stupak, Democrats have the votes (confirmed)"



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