Pro-life Dems and ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Thanks to Jill Stanek, and a hattip to Father Z,  for putting together this overview of how Democrats calling themselves pro-life voted on the Senate version of ObamaCare:

# The only pro-life Democrat to change his vote from a yes to a no due to the failure to include the Stupak-Pitts amendment was Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), …. (Lipinski is the congressman for the district in which Christ Hospital, my [Jill Stanek’s] former employer, is located. His father, Congressman Bill Lipinski, was a co-sponsor of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.)

# Other pro-life Democrats who had previously threatened to change their votes from a yes to a no, agreed to an Executive Order reiterating the Senate bill’s accounting scheme in exchange for their votes at the last minute. 20 of the Members who were urged to change their vote from a “yes” to “no” on pro-life grounds, but failed to do so are: Carney (PA), Costello (IL), Dahlkemper (PA), Donnelly (IN), Doyle (PA), Driehaus (OH), Ellsworth (IN), Hill (IN), Kanjorski (PA), Kaptur (OH), Kildee (MI), Langevin (RI), Mollohan (WV), Oberstar (MN), Ortiz (TX), Perriello (VA), Pomeroy (NC), Rahall (WV), Stupak (MI), and Wilson (OH)….

# 19 pro-life Democrats voted against the Senate bill and for the motion to recommit. They are Altmire* (PA), Barrow* (GA), Berry* (AR), Boren (OK), Bright (AL), Chandler* (KY), Childers (MS), L. Davis (TN), Holden (PA), Lipinski (IL), Marshall (GA), Matheson (UT)*, McIntyre (NC), Melancon (LA)*, Peterson (MN), Ross (AR)*, Shuler (NC), Skelton (MO), and Taylor (MS). (* denotes Members with a limited or mixed pro-life voting record.)

# Representatives Costello (IL) and Donnelly (IN) both voted for the Senate bill, but also vote for the motion to recommit.

# Representatives Artur Davis (AL), Lynch (MA), Space (OH), and Tanner (TN) voted against the Senate bill, but also voted against the motion to recommit despite having voted for a similar amendment offered last fall.

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Why Bart Stupak’s Executive Order is Meaningless

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

Why the figleaf that Bart Stupak had handed to him by Obama in the form of an executive order  is meaningless is succinctly explained by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

More to the point, though, this EO will never have any effect. As a host of actual Constitutional authorities have already made clear, any court challenge will wind up with the government forced to obey the law Congress passed and the President signed for the same reasons Obama states in this clip. Congress makes law, not the President, and when an EO conflicts with the law, it’s the law that prevails. Otherwise, the President really does become a “monarch”, as Obama states in this clip, and Congress becomes an advisory board.

Obama knows this. The Republicans know this. Hell, even Bart Stupak knows this, but he just needed an excuse to change his vote, and everyone knows it.

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A Tale of Two Votes

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

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.

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What We Know Now

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

As it so happened, I was in Washington DC on that National Mall as congress was voting on the mess which is our “health care reform” bill. I hadn’t been to our capitol city before, and it was a simply beautiful afternoon — one on which it was hard to believe that our elected representatives were bringing us one large step closer to a major budgetary crisis point, and Representative Stupak was busy selling out the principles everyone had imagined to be as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar for a rather paltry executive order which may (or may not) come after the fact. (Call me a cynic, but I could well imagine the EO never coming. Though in a sense, why not issue it: It would have no effect and could be repealed at any time. Still, there would be a great deal of justice and truth in Obama using the old Microsoft line, “Your mistake was in trusting us.”)

Still, though sun, green grass, and stone monuments are fresh in my mind, and the largest looming problems in my mind revolve around children wailing that they need a bathroom right now while traveling on the metro (let’s just say that didn’t end well) I don’t want to seem as if I’m discounting the importance of what we’ve just seen. And there seem to be some fairly clear conclusions we can draw:

1) Stupak had no desire to be to abortion what Joe Lieberman chose to be to foreign policy. Lieberman was hounded out of his party and continues to hold office only because of people who disagree with him on nearly every other issue admired his principled stands on Iraq, Israel, etc. If Stupak had brought down the Health Care Reform bill in defense of the unborn, he would have received similar treatment from his own party to what Lieberman has received, and he clearly didn’t want to be that person. Instead, having talking himself into a corner he really didn’t want to be in, he seized upon a fig leaf when it was offered and did what he’d clearly wanted to do all along:

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November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

Last November during a town hall meeting near the Upper Peninsula Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an alleged “pro-lifeDemocrat that recently voted for government funding of abortion, made it clear that he was never going to vote “No” on ObamaCare.

Biretta tip to Sydney Carton and Alicia Colon.


Sometimes One Picture Is Truly Worth A Thousand Words

Sunday, March 21, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.


Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

Sunday, March 21, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.
    US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:

    We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

    “One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

    Richard Doerflinger
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • In deal with Stupak, White House announces executive order on abortion (Washington Post):

    Resolving an impasse with anti-abortion Democrats over the health-care reform legislation, President Obama announced Sunday that he will be issuing an executive order after the bill is passed “that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” according to a statement from the White House.

    “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said at a news conference announcing the deal.

  • “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat” – Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).

Further analysis of the text of the order: Read the rest of this entry »