In my law practice, when my clients come to me for some legal help regarding some disaster that has occurred in their life, I often will tell them that no experience is wasted if a person learns from it. What did we learn last night from the greatest defeated suffered by the pro-life cause since Roe v. Wade? I think that can be summed up in two votes, both involving the Stupak amendment.
On November 7, 2009, all but one Republican in the House voted for the Stupak amendment, realizing that by doing so they were probably ensuring that ObamaCare passed in the House. I wrote about this vote here. The Republicans voted for the Stupak language because Republicans are an overwhelmingly pro-life party, even though they were criticized by some on the right for paving the way for the passage of ObamaCare in the House. They were joined by 68 Democrats.
Last night the Republicans voted to recommit the ObamaCare bill with the Stupak language. They were defeated in that effort, with every Republican voting for it, but only 21 Democrats this time joining them. Stupak, the author of the original amendment, voted against it and spoke against it, satisfied with the worthless executive order figleaf he was granted by Obama.
What all of this means is that for now the pro-life effort in the Democrat party has failed. Congressmen and women who are Democrats and called themselves pro-life have been mostly revealed to be completely unreliable when their votes mattered. I say this not to attack rank and file pro-lifers who have been involved in an uphill effort to keep the pro-life cause alive in the Democrat party, but merely to admit the obvious. I have written quite a bit on this blog in praise of Bart Stupak and I now regret every word. Whatever is in his heart, when it truly mattered he was a profile in political expediency. The same can be said for most of the other Democrats in Congress who call themselves pro-life. They proved themselves very weak reeds indeed. For pro-lifers the Republican party is the only game in town for meaningful pro-life legislation. This will be distasteful for pro-lifers who hate the Republican party only a little less than they love the unborn, but that is the simple truth. For people who wish to continue the effort to spread the pro-life message in the Democrat party, may you have success. I expect that you will fail, and in future I will assume that all elected pro-life Democrats are being mendacious until they prove otherwise by hard votes. Learning is sometimes a tough experience, but it is usually also a beneficial one, and that is what I learned from last night.