March 25, 2010
Posted: 09:00 PM ET
Unlike the signing of the health care bill Tuesday - which was conducted under the glare of television cameras - Wednesday's event was closed to the news media.
It was attended by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and 12 other House Democrats opposed to abortion rights, without whose help the landmark overhaul bill would not have passed, political observers say.
The White House has said the executive order reaffirms abortion funding restrictions first enacted in 1977.
"While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented," the White House said previously.
Stupak said the order makes very clear that the current law applies to the new law.
"I have said from the start that my goal was to see health care pass while maintaining the principle of the sanctity of life," he said Tuesday.
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