Hattiip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Representative Joe Pitts (R. Pa) has introduced a new bill that bans abortion funding from ObamaCare. It largely replicates the language of the old Stupak Amendment. The bill has 57 co-sponsors and growing. Thus far these real pro-life Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors: Reps. Travis Childers of Mississippi, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Marshall of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Gene Taylor of Mississippi. I salute each of them. Each of them voted against the final pro-abort version of ObamaCare. Bart Stupak and his “pro-life” Democrats who hid behind the fig leaf of the meaningless executive order in order to vote for ObamaCare, are of course not supporting this legislation. I think this is significant. ObamaCare passed. From the perspective of a truly pro-life Democrat who supported ObamaCare, why not amend the law now to ban abortion funding? Failure to support this legislation should finish the idea that such a Democrat in Congress is in any sense pro-life. This legislation should of course be a major voting issue for all pro-lifers in November
This decision is unbelievably shortsighted.
Since the rise of the influence of the abortion lobby in the Democratic party there has been fewer and fewer pro-life Democrats in office, for a number of reasons and we need not detail them here. But the point is this. The pro-life Democrats in elected office and those Democrats with “mixed views” on abortion, like them or not, have played a very important legislative role.
The number of pro-choice Republicans in Congress is slightly less than pro-life Democrats. So without pro-life Democrats, none of the pro-life bills that made it through Congress during the Bush Administration would have passed without their votes. When appropriations bills are on the congressional floor, without pro-life Democrats, the Hyde Amendment would not get enough votes. Inevitably, without this bloc of votes very few pro-life bills (and many pro-choice bills) would pass. That is the current political reality.
While pro-lifers, conservatives, and conservative pro-lifers all have different reasons for not being very pleased with Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats at the moment, because of their caving in to the Senate Bill abortion language and Obama’s vaporware executive order, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that if all Democrats were of the Obama/Pelosi persuasion in regards to abortion, we would undoubtedly have a “health care reform” bill which provided complete subsidies for abortion on demand for poor women, if not all women. The Senate language is not nearly as good as Stupak’s, and even with Stupak’s language included I think that the bill would have been deeply irresponsible for financial reasons. But let’s face it, the Democrats have a solid majority in the House and had until Brown’s election a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Without some Democrats breaking ranks with their party’s hard core pro-abortion platform, there would have been no way for the pro-life movement to keep the most extreme support for abortion possible out of the bill.
And while Stupak’s last minute flake-out is disappointing from a pro-life perspective (if he’d stuck to his guns, I would have happily donated to his re-election fund, simple because I admire steadfastness to pro-life principle, even in someone I disagree with on other issues) let’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language. So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.
- US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:
- 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).
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.”
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Further analysis of the text of the order: Read the rest of this entry »
National Review Online has a very revealing interview with Bart Stupak:
Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”
According to Stupak, that group of twelve pro-life House Democrats — the “Stupak dozen” — has privately agreed for months to vote ‘no’ on the Senate’s health-care bill if federal funding for abortion is included in the final legislative language. Now, in the debate’s final hours, Stupak says the other eleven are coming under “enormous” political pressure from both the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). “I am a definite ‘no’ vote,” he says. “I didn’t cave. The others are having both of their arms twisted, and we’re all getting pounded by our traditional Democratic supporters, like unions.” Read the rest of this entry »
The latest buzz in the political world is that a pro-choice Democratic woman (to the delight of EMILY’s List most certainly) will challenge pro-life Catholic Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak in the Democratic primary this August. This is most certainly not good news. Typically, a pro-life Democrat can oust a Republican in a general election with less trouble than their pro-choice counterparts. Pro-life Democrats, unfortunately, are particularly vulnerable in Democratic primaries and one can anticipate massive funding from Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, NARAL, the national Democratic party, and other “pro-choice” pseudofeminist liberals who will certainly blame Stupak for the fate of health care, even if it passes in a “watered down” fashion. Bart Stupak will obviously need pro-life support and it is unconscionable for the pro-life movement to not support his re-election bid for his continued principled stand against health care reform with abortion funding. If you can make a contribution to his campaign, I strongly recommend it.