A leading abortion rights advocate in the House said on Saturday that as many as 50 lawmakers were prepared to abandon health care reform legislation if the final bill were to include more restrictive abortion language.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) told reporters that she has conveyed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she and at least 49 other pro-choice Democrats would vote against the final measure if abortion language authored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) were to be reinserted.
"She knows that," Schakowsky said, "and the Speaker is pro-choice herself. She has made it very clear to Bart Stupak that there is no deal. But he can't seem to take yes for an answer."
Schakowsky said that she would consider supporting a potential fallback option to the impasse currently over abortion: an executive order by the President affirming that no federal funds went to the procedure. Another pro-choice lawmaker, Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.), said she would also consider the compromise.
Beyond that, however, it looks like there is little wiggle room with the pro-choice caucus.
"There is no deal with Bart Stupak," Schakowsky said. "If the Stupak language is on the bill than the bill fails because you can't use this historic transformation of health care to throw women and their reproductive rights under the bus entirely."