House leaders have decided not to give Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) a vote on a strict ban on federal funding for abortion and will instead try to muster the 216 votes needed to send a health care overhaul to the president without his help, a Democratic aide confirmed.
Pelosi and her minions are still claiming they have the votes, even without Stupak, but no one quite believes it:
Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), a close friend and ally of Stupak, also told POLITICO that the pro-life Democrats are holding the line and that their votes will be needed to pass the bill.
That’s certainly the position of another anti-abortion Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who is allied with Stupak:
He said that to support the legislation he needs an ironclad guarantee that Stupak’s language will be resurrected and enforced … ‘There’s still time and they still need votes,’ he said.
So, maybe there’s hope after all. Pelosi is in a classic Catch-22 situation: She can’t pass the bill without Stupak and his allies. But, if she approves anti-abortion language, the pro-abortion crowd will bolt.