Stupak says he'll kill health bill without his amendment

The congressman responsible for a controversial abortion restriction wants it kept in reform legislation -- or else

Published November 17, 2009 3:25PM (EST)

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., isn't making many friends with one of his party's key constituencies. The amendment he drafted and got attached to the House's healthcare reform bill, which restricts abortion coverage, has become perhaps the most controversial aspect of the legislation on the left. And now he's taking a tough line on the possibility that the amendment could be changed or stripped altogether.

"They're not going to take it out," Stupak said of Senate Democrats during an appearance on "Fox and Friends" Tuesday morning. "If they do, healthcare will not move forward ... At least 10 to 15 to 20 of us will not vote for it."

Without those votes -- and those numbers about line up with a count that House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., has previously offered -- the House can't pass the bill.

(Hat-tip to the Hill's Blog Briefing Room.)

Update: On the other hand, pro-choice Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said on an ABC News webcast Tuesday, "I think [Stupak] won't have the votes when people explain to those members what exactly the Stupak amendment does."

That's at least worth noting, but probably not much more than that -- DeGette's not talking about an actual whip count, but is hoping for a certain outcome.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Abortion Bart Stupak D-mich. Healthcare Reform