Where’s Stupak?

Monday, May 3, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

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

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Indiana Right to Lifes New Endorsement Policy

Saturday, April 10, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Indiana Right to Life’s political action committee will no longer support Democratic candidates for office.

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.

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Far Better Than Nothing

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

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.


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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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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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.


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 »