MI pro-life Democrat Congressman (and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus) Bart Stupak has been a real hero on trying to nix public funding of abortion in healthcare. I can’t imagine how we’d stand a chance of stopping it without him.
That’s why I didn’t jump on Stupak when the following video was released from an October 24 Cheboygan town hall meeting….
Specifically, Stupak said…
I offered an amendment that says no public funding for abortion that’s been the law of the land for many many decades and we lose that vote. Let’s say we lose that vote…. Would I vote against health care? If I had a chance to vote my conscience I probably would not. I probably would still vote for the health care bill at the end of the day.
Despite that, this is a very, very tenuous time, not the prudent moment for pro-lifers to start attacking Stupak, IMO. He has enough enemies as it is. He is taking on his House leader Nancy Pelosi. He is taking on Obama. Stupak is under immense pressure.
I’ve listened to Stupak’s rationale over and over, and it doesn’t make sense. Pro-aborts find the comment newsworthy, as did even Fox’s Brett Baier last night. I won’t link to all the angry pro-life posts, but they’re out there.
But I’m calling for calm. Here are some feasible explanations. First, Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, wrote in an email yesterday:
If Stupak gets a vote, his Amendment would most likely pass, which is why the leadership is not going to allow it. This is not the time to start attacking Stupak. He held a briefing today with the USCCB about abortion funding in health care. He has now 43 Democrats who said they would oppose the rule.
(Stupak needs 39 Dems to stop the healthcare bill.)
Another friend inside Congress wrote:
I don’t think it is helpful to focus efforts on attacking Mr. Stupak – the one Democrat who is actively working to advance our cause. He seems to be indicating that if his amendment were to fail, he will vote for the bill… It is possible he believes he has the votes to pass the amendment, so the scenario in which his amendment fails is unlikely. Whatever the case may be, pro-life groups need to be putting their efforts into growing support for the Stupak amendment…. Attacks on the one guy who has a shot at building a pro-life coalition of the necessary 40 Democrats won’t accomplish anything.
Another insider conjectured on a conference call Stupak must appear reasonable to his leadership or lose credibility. But in reality Stupak believes he has the votes either of 2 ways to scrub abortion in healthcare: 1) by stopping the bill if his amendment isn’t given an up-or-down vote; and 2) by passing the amendment if members are given the chance to vote.
In other words, as the person above noted, Stupak doesn’t believe it will get to the point of having to vote for a healthcare bill with abortion in it if members are allowed to vote on his amendment.
So, while for good reason pro-lifers have a gut instinct to distrust politicians calling themselves pro-life, let’s just keep our power dry in this case and continue to support Stupak’s monumental effort to get a Hyde amendment enshrined in the healthcare bill, ok?