In March 2010, congressional Democrats were only a few votes short of passing historic health care legislation. Standing in the way was northern Michigan’s Democratic congressman – former Rep. Bart Stupak.
The Upper Peninsula native said he would not support the bills until he could guarantee that public money would not pay for abortions. Stupak faced intense pressure from Democrats and Republicans over his stance.
“I wanted all Americans to have access to health care but at the same time I didn’t want federal funding to be used for abortion,” Stupak told IPR News Radio during a recent call-in show. “That was a personal struggle.”
With a vote looming, Stupak cut a deal over abortion with President Obama and helped to guarantee the passage of the Affordable Care Act. His 'yes' vote also led to a tsunami of threatening emails, phone calls and letters from opponents of the law. His efforts to keep public money from paying for abortions also upset many Democrats.
Stupak gives a behind-the-scenes look at the health care debate in his new book, "For All Americans: The Dramatic Story Behind the Stupak Amendment and the Historic Passage of Obamacare."
He retired from Congress in 2011.