The Stupak Amendment was an amendment to H.R. 3962 which closed a loophole that would have allowed for taxpayer funding for abortion in the government-run "public option". The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat and a Catholic who represents northern Michigan.
The bill passed the House with the amendment, to the frustration of many liberals.
It passed Nov. 7, 2009 on a vote of 240-194. Democrats split 64-192 against the amendment, but 176 Republicans voted in favor of it while none opposed it and Jon Shadegg of Arizona voted present. The Catholic Church had been energetic in promoting the amendment, especially among Democrats.
The final bill just barely passed 215-210, as 39 Democrats deserted the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi is a strong supporter of abortion but to get the 215 votes she had to give in to Catholic leaders nationally and abortion opponents in her own caucus and allow them to impose tight restrictions of the Stupak Amendment that bar any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions. As a result, numerous liberals denounced the bill even as they voted for it. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain.
- David M. Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes, "Abortion Was at Heart of Wrangling," New York Times Nov 7, 2009