President Barack Obama announced Sunday that he will sign an executive order after the House passes health care reform to make it clear that no federal funds will be used for abortions.
“While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.
The executive order states that the legislation “maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges.” It cites agencies charged with enforcing those restrictions: the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management.
Moments after the White House released the text of the executive order, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) held a press conference with other anti-abortion-rights Democrats — including Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) — to announce their long-sought support for the health care bill.
The support of the holdout Democrats means the leadership likely has the 216 votes necessary to pass the package later this evening.