President Obama is confident he will sign health care legislation this year, but he says the amendment in the House legislation prohibiting abortion coverage in the so-called public option is not what he intends to have included in the final version of the bill.
“ I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. And we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions,” Obama told ABC’s Jake Tapper. “And I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test -- that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we're not restricting women's insurance choices….”
The Stupak-Pitts amendment, sponsored by Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak (D) and Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Pitts (R), inserted into the House health care legislation, would prevent coverage for abortions in the so-called public option. The amendment also prevents private plans from offering coverage for abortion services if those plans accept people who receive government subsidies on health care.
The Senate and House will now have to conference on their different versions of the bill, and the Stupak amendment could cause some delays, if not serious troubles for some Senators.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) says he’s “very pleased that the Stupak amendment passed in the House,” and went on to tell Fox News’ Senate Producer Trish Turner that “If (the Senate bill) doesn’t make it clear that it does not fund abortion with government money, you can be sure I will vote against the bill.”
“This is going to be a complex set of negotiations. I'm confident that we can actually arrive at this place where neither side feels that it's being betrayed. But it's going to take some time,” Obama said.
Fox News Senior Producer Trish Turner contributed to this story