Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has announced a deal with the White House. Upon passage by Congress, President Obama will sign an executive order that is supposed to affirm no public funds will go to abortions under the health care bill. I have yet to see the language — I could see where it might help the community health centers problem but not the federal subsidies for abortion coverage allowed under the Senate bill. But there are serious questions about whether an executive order could legally fix all of the problems with this bill from a pro-life perspective. And an executive order can be rescinded by any president at any time, while the law is permanent unless expressly repealed.
I believe Stupak is sincere in his commitment to the pro-life cause. But there was always a danger in letting the outcome hinge on pro-life liberals who in principle supported this approach to health care reform — indeed, would support a bill to the left of this one — as long as it contained satisfactory language on abortion.
UPDATE: Here is the text of the executive order, according to the Washington Post.