Antiabortion Democrats Make Headway in Healthcare Debate

Rep. Bart Stupak gets President Obama's ear on concerns about abortion and healthcare reform.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

The New York Times reports that antiabortion Democrats have gained traction with complaints that their party's healthcare reform proposals lack adequate bans on federally funded abortion. Check out these new developments involving Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, leader of the antiabortion Democrats:

After months of pushing the issue, Mr. Stupak said in an interview, Mr. Obama finally called him 10 days ago. "He said: 'Look, try to get this thing worked out among the Democrats. We want you to work it out within the party,' " Mr. Stupak said, adding that Mr. Obama did not say whether he supported the segregated-money provision or a more sweeping restriction. "We got his attention, which we never had before."

After the president called, Mr. Stupak said, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi agreed to meet with Mr. Stupak on Tuesday to discuss his proposals for the first time, her office confirmed. Her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, said in a statement, "As we have throughout the process, we are meeting with our members to listen to their concerns, consulting with the administration, and making progress."

Does this mean that Democrats will accept a stricter ban on federally funded abortion in healthcare reform? Not necessarily. But it sure looks like the party's leaders are open to compromise on the issue.

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