Weekend question: Will loss of Democrat pro-lifers in Congress help or hurt movement?

An October 28 Christianity Today article entitled, “The death of pro-life Democrats,” included this sobering observation:

Thanks to pro-life groups and backlash over health care reform, the Democratic pro-life vote in the House of Representatives is likely to halve on November 2, making abortion even more of a partisan issue.

The actual decrease according to the article: From 40-60, depending on the issue, to 22-35. CT notes these will “likely be replaced with more conservative pro-life Republicans.”

What Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, think the shift will mean, from the article:

From a Republican perspective, this is a very good strategy because you don’t want a strong pro-life voice in the Democratic Party; it takes it away as a campaign issue. The pro-choice groups are the same way. I think the pro-choice groups and the pro-life Republicans are on the same page: “We don’t want these pro-life Democrats in the party.”

And Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America:

To the extent that the pro-life movement tries to restrict the definition of being pro-life to the Republican Party, unless the stars realign and the Republican Party becomes 2/3 of the electorate, they’re cutting themselves off from the possibility of building the kinds of alliances that might be able to advance the pro-life agenda. If you want to do something about stem-cell research, or make progress on the whole of the pro-life agenda, you’re going to need some Democrats to come along. Going after pro-life Democrats is not going to help the pro-life cause.

Speaking from the other side was Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List:

Assuming that our plans work out well, we will have a very strong team to work with, and a team that understands the consequences of undermining the pro-life position. They’ll see people who lost because they said they were pro-life and then didn’t vote that way.… Real movements behave like that; they don’t just say “well, throw me a few crumbs and we’ll be just fine.” This Congress will be very strong and we’ll be able to build on that.

What do you think?

49 thoughts on “Weekend question: Will loss of Democrat pro-lifers in Congress help or hurt movement?”

  1. Kristen Day makes an awesome point.

    Losing pro-life Democrats hurts the cause. And it hands the debate over to the Republicans- Heaven help us. The Republican Party will undo universal healthcare and go back to pandering to the wealthy, as per usual with them. They will make the debate seem like a fight between conservatives and liberals with pro-lifers all being conservative, and that’s only going to a). make things worse- this shouldn’t be a Civil War, this should be an opportunity to come together to make things right and b). set us all up for failure. If we lose the liberal pro-lifers, the movement will eventually lose.

    And I personally have a problem with the hypocrisy of the Republicans- you can’t call yourself pro-life and put Dick Cheney in charge. Sorry- it’s harsh and blunt, but true. You just can’t call Cheney a pro-life guy (if he ever claimed that he was, which I don’t know of). Democrats aren’t perfect, sure, but at least it seemed like the Democrats For Life wanted a dialogue, so they have my respect.

  2. “but at least it seemed like the Democrats For Life wanted a dialogue,”

    Actions speak louder than words. 

  3. Vannah,

    Oh Vannah please, pandering to the wealthy?  Give me a break.  This class warfare claptrap is old and tedious.  Such well known Democrats as the Kennedys, Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, and big time liberal Democrats such as the Hollywood left are hardly scraping pennies.  For that matter neither is the great liberal lefty billionaire George Soros, who pours his millions into the Democrat Party and left wing causes. Wealth is fine so long as a Democrat is enjoying it or benefitting from it. Yes Vannah, let’s talk  about hypocrisy.

    Democrats proved they were first and foremost Democrats and loyal Pelosi/Reid/Obama lapdogs when it came time to stand for their PL principles.  They knew that executive order of Obama’s that was alleged to prevent funding of abortion was only good for wiping their fannies, and little else.  They knew the American people did NOT want Obamacare, but they responded by shoving their middle fingers under our noses.

    Yes Praxedes, actions do indeed speak louder than words.

  4. Mary,

    Obviously Hollywood is hypocritical. I didn’t say that there’s no such thing as a hypocritical Democrat (I absolutely hate Hollywood- I will side with you there). But do you really believe that Republican politicians have your best interests at heart?

    I will say this- you cannot have a pro-life movement without some liberal force. You just can’t have the movement without them. Eventually, the movement will die out over the next generation if we do not drastically change our approach.

  5. Hi Vannah,

    What am I pointing out is the absolute absurdity of class warfare and attacks on the “wealthy”, often by the very people who themselves enjoy immense wealth.

    I am tea party and am absolutely disgusted with both parties and their ruling class politicians with their smoke filled rooms and back slapping.  I want them all swept to the curb.  That is why I support tea party candidates.  As far as I’m concerned this new crop of Republicans are on probation big time.  I intend to let my newly elected(if polls are to be believed)tea party backed representatives know that I am not sending them to Washington to reach across the aisle, to make people like them, or to enjoy the trappings of power.  There is another election in two years and this time around they will be held accountable. We know all too well how the Republicans can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This time a well informed and angry electorate is watching.

  6. I must disagree with you Vannah on the PL need for liberals.  We haven’t gotten much help up until now.

  7. Mary,

    May I pick your history lovin brain?

    What was the Dem party platform way back when?

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the Dem platform now ABORTION? Isn’t that what the party has adopted?(I wish their platform was ADOPTION!) Planned Parenthood surely knows who will further their “cause!!”


  8. Kristen Day has a good point. Pro-life republicans are no more pro-life than the pro-life dems are but they love using it as a wedge issue to advance the party (and pro-choicers are not any better). It’s not about babies or ‘bodily autonomy’ to politicians it’s about power and power alone. IMO politicians will never band together with the other party again like they used to. It’s all about spite and retaliation, hubris and hyperbole. It’s never about saving babies, it’s all about the win.
    Call me cynical if you want but after being a liberal pro-lifer for a while I have gotten to know the game pretty well. During election time it’s about being elected regardless of the cost and no politician is exempt. We are forced to vote for what we think is the lesser evil and then just have to wait and see if we were right. I’ve become wholly depressed about politics ever since Obama has been elected. Not just because Obama has been completely spineless so far, but politics has become an even more radical and ultimately INCREDIBLY ridiculous that I’m not expected anything out of the politicians i’m voting for or against. The only reason I am looking forward to voting is the yes or no on public policy issues, because at least it offers an answer.

  9. Christianity Today got the title wrong: the only thing that died is the lie that Democrats are pro-life.
    It’s coming down to principles.

    The American people have to choose what they truly believe – whether we as a nation value human life at every stage of development, or value absolute power when it suits our self-interests at the moment.

    History shows that the sinful heart of man that revels in absolute power only understands absolute power when wielded against him. The American people need to speak thunderously, and with one voice.

    And if it’s not on the side of life, mercy and grace – God help us.

  10. I may want to run for political office someday but I don’t think any party would accept me b/c I would refuse to lie about my positions or try to make them seem different than they are. Screw that. I”m so so tired of politician speak and political commercials. Get the heck over yourselves people.
    I’m kind of known for being honest in a lot of scholarship and application essays. Which has in many cases worked against me because looking back they may have sounded slightly offensive. But sometimes it works out in my favor, and in any case, I refuse to write generic essays. Might as well write about something I believe in.

  11. Hi Carla,

    I’m from the era when “pregnant” and “abortion” were not even mentioned on TV, much less touted by any political party.  By today’s standards the Democrat Party I remember was more conservative.  It was after all a more conservative era.  I’m not certain when the Democrat Party took up the mantle in support of abortion, though I would think it was after Roe v Wade.  I believe it was Nelson Rockefeller, a northeast Republican, who signed the very liberal NY abortion law prior to Roe.  Prior to Roe, states and referendums decided abortion and I don’t recall either party taking it up as a cause.  The Democrat Party became more and more liberal and as such it only stands to reason they would take up abortion in the process.

  12. Hi Chris,

    Thank you, very interesting.  For some reason I don’t think the Kennedy brothers had any real problem here.  I understand they discreetly paid for more than a few abortions.  I remember when Jesse Jackson was staunchly PL, until he became more involved in the Democrat political scene, and towed their PA line.
    If a PA stance brought more people and organizations into the Democrat Party, so be it.  Its my memory Chris that this was a gradual process.

  13. you’re going to need some Democrats to come along. Going after pro-life Democrats is not going to help the pro-life cause.

    If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, I’m not optimistic about the willingness of the current crop of “prolife” Dems to help the movement very much. Perhaps there are some new up-and-comers in the Dem party who are prolife and more committed. But there aren’t any on my ballot, that’s for sure. What I’ve got is a proabort Dem who’s way behind in the polls to the PROLIFE challenger :-)

    Even if I had a prolife Dem on my ballot, it’s doubtful I would vote for him/her because s/he would still be caucusing with the arrogant elitist Dems after getting to DC. And the Dem caucus is not where my interests are going to be best represented, as the last year in DC has demonstrated.

  14. Mary – you’re right – it is a gradual process, both for individuals and organizations.  The same thing happened with Justice Harry Blackmun he was pro-life until his wife started asserting her influence over him when it came to his principles.  Eventually, he was given enough accolades by those who profited from abortion that he went whole hog. People, in their rush to please other people tend to forget God.
    When God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door waiting to devour him, he was providing a lesson for everyone.

  15. Hi Chris,

    Another interesting point would be when the Democrats began supporting civil and voting rights for black Americans after years of vehemently and violently opposing such rights.  My guess would be around the mid 1960s.  Of course Civil and Voting Rights legislation had passed because of Republicans already, over the strenuous objections of Democrats, and the battles against the Democrat controlled Jim Crow south fought by Republican presidents, so the Democrats had little to do but pay lip service to obtain a blindly loyal black constiuency.

  16. BTW Chris,

    Did you hear Democrat Bill Clinton approached black Democrat Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race?  Gives the white guy Charlie Crist a better chance to win and beat that Cuban fella. What the heck, the black guy can always be sacrificed. Those racist Republicans!!!

  17. So instead of trying to knock off hard-line pro-choicers some pro-life groups are targeting moderate (somewhat) pro-life Democrats?  What gives?  Shouldn’t we be going after pro-choice leaders like Waxman, Pelosi, etc? Guess I don’t understand politics.

  18. Kate,

    So what are your positions? :)


    How have you been?


    I hate politics and think that politicians have the worst jobs in the world- we could probably share a disdain for any lowlife who lies or doesn’t follow through with his or her promises. I disagree with you about the Tea Party, but I won’t get in any fight on that here- I will drop the matter entirely. My point is that there is such a thing as a hypocritical Democrat, yes, but the entire Republican position conflicts with what they say that they support- like how can you be pro-life and and as a party, on a whole, bomb other countries? How? The entire party is frustrating to me. But alienating liberals or moderates by wanting to get rid of pro-life Democrats (which is something lots of people seem to want to do here by calling them traitors and related names throughout various threads) is not going to help. This is not a battle over conservative versus liberal; it’s a abscess that has sprung up from all of the flaws that our society has and all of the flaws that need to be corrected.

  19. Prolife Dems destroyed their own chances for reelection because they caved and failed to protect the preborn by caving to pressure and voting for Obamacare.

    This movement isn’t about R or D- it’s about who will protect life. While R prolifers haven’t done enough in general, D prolifers have done great damage and proven untrustworthy.

    The movement will find success without such weak politicians. Should D prolifers come along that will resist their own party to the end on this issue, great. Until then, the movement only has the choice to go forward by going without them.

  20. Hi Vannah,

    Well, how can Democrats call themselves the champions of the little guy and advocate the killing of the unborn? How can they oppose capital punishment but support the killing of the unborn?  How can the advocate equality and fairness yet support affirmative action and quotas?  These arguments can keep going.
    I’m afraid Vannah that PL Democrats showed their true loyalties, and that is the Democrat Party.  Even their constituents’ adamant opposition to the health reform bill didn’t sway them, party loyalty came first. I can remember when there were PL Democrats of true conviction and I understand that some did indeed oppose this bill and stood firm in their PL convictions.  Apparently some aren’t going to lose their seats either.

  21. Well, I know I for one have made it a priority to try and dispel the lies being bandied about about pro-life Democrats, and composed a book to do just this.  The fact is that 20 pro-life Democrats did oppose the final bill even though Stupak and 19 others voted for it.  What’s more, Costello and Donnelly voted after the final bill to ‘recommit’ or send the bill back to the Senate for a pro-life amendment brought up by David Camp.

    However, I have sympathy even for the 18 pro-life Democrats who did support the final bill, since they wanted health care reform, unlike Republicans, but could not send the bill back to the Senate without potentially destroying health care reform.  Why?  Because after the bill passed the Senate, Republicans picked up the extra seat necessary with Scott Brown’s election in January to stall the bill, were it sent back for changes, indefinitely.  Statements by Stupak also suggested the idea was to use an Executive Order to stall the abortion agenda with the hope Republicans coming into a majority would pass the statutory language sought.

    At any rate, the issue is far more complex, and the pro-life Democrats seemed sincere in their belief they were doing what was right, and stopping an abortion agenda.  While I disagree with the choice, I think it was a mistake of trusting Obama, not knowing about his history on live birth abortion, or his promises to Planned Parenthood in 2007 to make abortion front and center in the bill.  At best, it is wrongly placed trust through not knowing enough at the time, while under extreme duress, not intentional forfeiting of principle.


    It’s actually part of a broader report, here:


    The book also addresses our economic situation, the problems causing it, and the solutions which could change it, shows where political money goes by industry, details Obama’s voting record on live birth abortion and his political history, and provides voting records for all Congressmen running for re-election on the final health care vote, pro-life Stupak and Camp amendments to the health care bill, bill to repeal the individual mandate, Stimulus bills, Cap & Trade, and the Bailouts.

  22. Democrats have abortion built into their platform, as well as forcing us to pay for it built into the platform.  That’s in the line that says a woman has a right to abortion regardless of her ability to pay for it.  The money doesn’t fall from the sky.
    Who sought to overturn the conscience protections for physicians within days of entering office?  Obamanator.
    Who promised planned parenthood that abortion would be at the heart of his health care plan?  Obamanator.
    There are some people who call themselves pro-life, who still believe  that money falls from the sky, and that health care can be “free”.  Others believe in slavery, forcing one man to work for the benefit of someone else, by means of compulsory wealth redistribution programs.   Charity is supposed to be voluntary, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops forgot about that, (as well as forgetting that slavery is bad).
    Pro-life health care professionals have to always be prepared to seek another career in order to avoid what Obama has in store for us : coercion to participate in his use of the health care system to regulate the composition of the population.
    Obama controls General Motors and pays the CEO 9 million per year.  Why do some people think that the democrats are going to guarantee equal outcomes for everyone?
    Certainly the abortion plank of the democrat platform isn’t about guaranteeing equal outcomes.

  23. Joshua Zambrano,

    You obvkously have a very charitable nature.
    You are sympathetic towrard the 18 Democrats because they wanted health care reform?  What did their constituents want? I think the midterms are giving us the answer to that question.
    These Democrats were well aware the president’s EO was good for wiping their fannies and little else. They put party loyalty ahead of their constituents and principles.

  24. Joshua Zambrano  @  1:29 AM said:  “The fact is that 20 pro-life Democrats did oppose the final bill even though Stupak and 19 others voted for it.  What’s more, Costello and Donnelly voted after the final bill to ‘recommit’ or send the bill back to the Senate for a pro-life amendment brought up by David Camp.”

    While some Democrats may be entirely sincere in their efforts to pass pro-life  legislation, they are avoiding the larger disconnect  – which is the party plank condones abortion.

    Why would anyone bind themselves to a majority philosophy that you diametrically oppose?

    The only logical reason I can think of is – you don’t really believe one or the other, because if you did fully believe it, then you wouldn’t do something fully counter to that belief.

    The cancer of abortion (and the power they derive from that evil) has overcome the Democratic party.   The evidence that abortion hurts women is undeniable. The evidence of Barack Obama’s positions on abortion are easily obtained.

    Why bind yourself to something antithetical to your deeply held convictions? Blind allegiance to a party which completely rejects your convictions is – foolish.

  25. New  Catholic  Cardinal  Raymond Burke  made the position clear for Catholics  in an interview with Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family.
          “As a bishop it’s my obligation in fact, to urge the faithful to carry out their civic duty in accord with their Catholic faith,” Burke said.
    “You can NEVER vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion,” he added plainly.

    “You may in SOME circumstances where you DONT have any candidate who is proposing to eliminate all abortion, choose the candidate who will MOST limit this grave evil in our country, but you could NEVER  justify voting for a candidate who not only does not want to limit abortion but believes that it should be available to everyone,”

  26. Vannah- your typical pro-life liberal I’d say although I don’t really endorse many candidates lately. My opinions are a little too complicated to just ramble about but feel free to ask me anything!

  27. Just saw the replies.
    To Pharmer:  You’re right, Democrats have abortion built into their platform.  And I agree they’re not likely to change it.  But pro-life Democrats are never going to be the vote-in-step, pro-big-business Republicans, who want to oppose welfare and healthcare.  I would hope, I’ll admit, they’ll become their own party some day.  But first they need to avoid extinction.  I personally hold more hope for talking economic sense into the Republican Party than helping liberal Democrats like Pelosi acquire a conscience, but you never know.  That is why I support pro-life Democrats, not all Democrats.  I am about as anti-Obama as you can get.  I have been opposing him since 2004 when he ran against Alan Keyes, and I can prove it too:  http://www.renewamerica.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1104&p=8785&hilit=+infanticide#p8785
    Furthermore, the whole 2nd section of my book previously mentioned, pages 44-74, is dedicated to examining controversies surrounding Obama, including infanticide and his political history:
    I do not support Obama.  I hold no affections for Reid or Pelosi.  Unlike the pro-life Democrats, I have no fondness for the Democrat Party.  I support them specifically.

  28. To Mary: Some states are more against health care than others.  Many of the pro-life Democrats in very conservative districts, like Lincoln Davis and Gene Taylor, did oppose the final bill.  It is possible those 18 pro-life Democrats were in districts more interested in health care.  They wanted health care reform.  That is how Obama operates, you’ve seen it.  He tells everybody “we need health care reform” or “we need a stimulus to create jobs” and then creates a mostly worthless bill that accomplishes less of that than a bunch of bureaucracy, and those who support it do so thinking “well, we do need (X)”.  That is what happened.  They wanted health care reform and saw it as helping their constituents.  They just did not want it to fund abortion.
    To Chris:  As I’ve said, I would prefer the DFLA become their own party.  But what you are missing is the DFLA cares JUST AS MUCH about health care as abortion, or at least close.  Their pro-life ethic is dissimilar from Republicans.  They want health care and welfare, to stop prostitution and human trafficking, to help the poor people of this world the same way they oppose abortion.  They saw opposition to abortion as a worthy cause THE SAME WAY they did health care for everyone.  They are in the Democrat Party because they do not like the anti-welfare, pro-big business, tax-cuts-for-the-rich, anti-immigrants, anti-good-of-all-people Republicans.  So that leaves either creating a new party or trying to reform the DNC, since they don’t consider the Republicans any more attractive than the Democrats, maybe less.  Personally, I care most about the abortion issue, but this is a perspective thing to recognize, that they care equally about care for the poor, unlike Republicans, and wanted health care like they wanted to avoid an abortion agenda.  Joining the Republicans was of course not an option, and perhaps they haven’t seriously considered becoming a 3rd party because they’ve always been a marginal faction until these last few years with the election of more of them, is my guess, so that’s your explanation for why they’d stay in the DNC.
    They wanted the health care bill to pass, just so long as there was no abortion agenda, and grew more desperate I’m sure as the bill came closer to the deadline with no compromise. They recognized it could not go back to the Senate without Republicans, who now had the votes there to hold up the bill interminably if it were sent back for changes, ultimately destroying it. So abortion protection would have to come without legislation, i.e. statutory language, leaving only an Executive Order. For them to demand a change to the bill would be to destroy it, something Stupak didn’t appear to have realized until the last week; when the Democrats must have shown him this was going to happen. Desperate for health care reform, he took the only chance left he thought could save the one chance at passing health care reform in his lifetime, while still protecting the unborn. Was it a choice I’d make? No, but I know more about Obama and his history than Stupak did. If I were in his shoes, without that knowledge of Obama, and desperate to pass health care reform? I don’t think I could blame him, that’s all I would say.

  29. Stupak in his conversation with Greta Van Susteren and other comments, shows he saw the Executive Order as just a temporary protection, there long enough to protect the unborn until a Republican majority could come in to fix the bill.  This is mentioned on pages 101-102 of my book, The Zambrano Report.  My sources are:
    It’s easy to miss in the article, but he says, “We’ll probably have to wait until the Republicans take back the majority to fix this.”  He also tells Greta after the bill passes there will be fixes and the goal is to now try and pass that statutory language with Republicans and he’s been assured by Obama and Pelosi they wouldn’t let the bill fund abortions in the meantime.
    I saw it as a holding tactic by him.  If he cared so much about his seat or anything the Democrats could give him, why do you think he would just choose to retire and not even try to run?  Especially when the Democrat Party really wanted him to run?  Why do you think he made that choice if not what he said, he really just wanted health care reform so long as protecting children too?
    I believe he chose not to run for other reasons.  Perhaps it broke his heart to see so many pro-life people come to hate him.  Or to see his constituents feel he betrayed them.  Or perhaps just to let them have what they thought they wanted.
    You will never convince me Stupak was just doing this out of selfish motivations.  There’s zero evidence for that, everything points to the reverse, and everything I’ve seen of his character leads to me believe his rivals that of anyone I’ve met before.  I don’t believe in people lightly.  Especially politicians.  I still don’t believe Stupak was anything but sincere.

  30. Joshua – thanks for your reply.

    If what you say is true – that DFLA holds opposition to abortion at the same degree as health care reform then I would say they have a severe problem, because it shows they do not understand the nature of abortion, nor did they understand the bill’s true impact.

    You make several statements in your reply that frame the actions taken by said pro-life Democrats as the best options they had available to them at the time.  Collectively, they had the power to change this country, and they gave it up to Obama and Pelosi.

    In your response, you paint numerous (typical) cardboard propaganda pictures of Republicans:

     They are in the Democrat Party because they do not like the anti-welfare, pro-big business, tax-cuts-for-the-rich, anti-immigrants, anti-good-of-all-people Republicans.


    they care equally about care for the poor, unlike Republicans, and wanted health care like they wanted to avoid an abortion agenda.  

    Even though you’re attempting to convey how the Democrats approached the situation, you’re only reinforcing the notion that they are incompetent in analyzing actual needs, and completely ignoring the nature of power in government.

    When it comes to life vs healthcare, there is no comparison. It’s not the same. It’s not even close.   In the one case, you have the deliberate taking of an innocent human life. With the health bill, you have government enslavement of the population to benefit others, and if you read closely, you’ll see that also includes abortion “benefits” for them as well. True reform frees up market restrictions, not imposes them.

    As for Bart Stupak – he may, as you say, been entirely sincere.  But he was taken – badly.  No – make that horribly.  He should have known what he was up against, why they were dealing with him, and absolutely should not have proceeded with an executive order as a substitution for legislation. That’s sheer incompetency.

  31. To Chris: Like I said, I didn’t agree with the health care or Stimulus bills as they were put out.  I even created my own health care bill at the time and suggested it to the GOP back in November.  The bill I created did not provide health care through the insurance industry but by government using grants so hospitals would provide health care directly – I think it would be cheaper without insurers as the middleman.  I also sought to confront tort reform by requiring those losing medical lawsuits pay up to $1000 of the other party’s legal fees, to discourage frivolous medical lawsuits – the U.K. and Canada already require payment of court fees in losing cases, why they may get less frivolous lawsuits.  Insurance costs for frivolous lawsuits already comprise a large chunk of doctor costs, which are passed on to patients.  I also sought to confront the nursing shortage by providing subsidies to nursing instructors, since the problem has been we have too few of them, since they can make more in the medical field than teaching, even though the 2nd takes more education, time, and money; both teaching, and nursing, degrees.  I also sought to make the system competitive, like the free market, by using a card similar to Canada’s CareCard, except rather than just for quick hospital access, allow patients to vote on their experience at government hospital lobbies, and hospitals with better performance get more funds from grants.

    Like I said, I did not like the health care bill as it was put out.  The individual mandate was a stupid idea, not what Obama promised (of course).  Rather than providing basic care, it was funding other people’s abortions.  Having read both bills, I think it was less obvious this was done with the 2nd bill than the 1st though, because whereas the 1st directly paid for other people’s abortions, the 2nd tried to go about it through a back route, by taxing the plans of those who don’t cover abortions.  This of course was contrary to Obama’s lie that people could keep their coverage, since it would tax so heavily those plans not covering abortions they’d be forced out.
    Anyway, not saying I agreed with the bill, but from the perspective of pro-life Democrats, they probably believed Obama that it was a great bill – keep in mind, none of them were really involved with the bill-creation process, as Reid took 2 committee bills, came up with his own result somehow, threw out a lot of the committee’s stuff, nobody knew where he came up with it, and it snowballed from there.  During my research I went through Congressional records when they were discussing the Senate bill, and found this where Republican Senator Barasso says

    “Then Senator REID gets these two bills—one from the HELP committee, one from the Finance Committee—tries to stitch them together behind closed doors, and there is an amendment that Senator ENZI had put into the bill, one of the bills—it was voted on and approved—and then it magically disappeared without the knowledge of any members of the committee. It was something intended to help the American people, but that got taken out and thrown away in the dead of night.”


    I do think Bart Stupak was very concerned about health care for everyone, that he wanted to improve health care – there was a lot of testimony about this on the Senate floor, and how actually one of the leading causes of death in the country is lack of sufficient medical care.  I do think he had a heart to fix that, but I think the bills coming out were more about deal-making than providing actual solutions.  For example, early on Democrats struck a deal with the medical industry to kill the public option:



    They taxed medical device makers as punishment for not readily accepting a buyout:



    And they cut a deal with the biggest funder of Democrats, unions, in exchange for their support of the bill.


    This is all mentioned in chapter 3 for my Health Care Timeline.
    Anyway, I do believe the pro-life Democrats thought this was a good bill.  And wanted it, believing it would help their constituents.  And I do think Republicans are against health care, welfare, and public care of any kind.  Having talked to so many, I think many just don’t want to give a handout, which I’d agree with.  That’s why in my book, The Zambrano Report, on pg. 42 I suggest making welfare accompany a work system, where work is done in exchange for food and shelter, since it gives them back their pride for working in exchange for welfare, gives them work experience for getting back on their feet, and helps the community if involving cleaning up parks or public buildings.  If I’m right, many of the poor would jump at this opportunity, and Republicans would consider it more favorably as well.
    You say there is no comparison of health care and abortion.  But one of the arguments on the Senate floor was that lack of proper health care is a leading cause of death in the U.S., causing 44,000 every year.

    Now, like I said, I am most concerned about abortion, but recognize why the DFLA wanted health care reform and was concerned about the way it kills tens of thousands of people each year, just like abortion does (though arguably more).  I think they just trusted the bill itself would be effective, and didn’t look enough at whether the bill itself was a good bill (Republicans’ concern), but I do think their motives were good.
    I do think Stupak was conned.  But the fact is they used a 2,000 page document to conceal what they were doing from him like the American people.  Some of the most obvious parts of the abortion agenda were removed thanks to Ben Nelson.  Nelson originally proposed a Nelson amendment in the Senate, which was either identical or close to it to the Stupak amendment.  Unfortunately it failed.  With the Senate bill close to passing, he worked what’s been called the ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ to get as much wording against the abortion agenda into the bill as he could for his one vote.
    While the wording wasn’t perfect, it did do a lot to stem what I saw as the most obvious parts of the abortion agenda in the bill.  Stupak didn’t know about Obama’s record in Illinois on live birth abortion.  Nor I’m sure was he aware that Obama promised Planned Parenthood in 2007 abortion would be in the bill.


    Had he known that, I’m positive he does not make that choice.  But this was not common knowledge at the time, in either case.  He made a choice to trust his party’s leader, understandable for someone not aware of Obama, which most people weren’t – or they wouldn’t have voted for him.  I would argue that incompetency wasn’t just Stupak’s, but the entire United States’ for ever letting Obama get in.

  32. “I also sought to confront tort reform by requiring those losing medical lawsuits pay up to $1000 of the other party’s legal fees, to discourage frivolous medical lawsuits – the U.K. and Canada already require payment of court fees in losing cases, why they may get less frivolous lawsuits.”
    Sorry for the partial hijack, but you got this part wrong.  First, $1000 would be way too little to discourage the filing of a lawsuit.  A med mal lawsuit could easily cost over $100,000 in costs, sometimes, much more than that.  The defendant’s legal bills would also be hundreds of thousands of dollars.  If someone would be willing to risk $250,000, the extra $1000 would mean little.  (side note, Alaska has a “loser pays” system, by the way, and the defendants end up paying extra to the plaintiffs more often than not.) Second, “frivolous” lawsuits, especially for medical malpractice, are exceedingly rare.  As stated above, an attorney has to put in serious money to get one of these cases to trial.  If they lose, they’re out their money and a huge amount of their time.  Medical Malpractice cases are very hard to win, as jurors give the benefit of the doubt to doctors, and seem to think that the plaintiff is just complaining about a “bad outcome.”  “Doctors are only human, doing their best, etc.”   So, before a med mal case gets filed, someone has looked at it very carefully, probably has already hired a medical expert to offer an opinion, and made very sure it was not “frivolous.”
    The bigger problem is the many many people who can’t find a lawyer to bring a med mal case because of these reasons.  I am sure there are cases where the doctor did really mess up, and did really hurt someone, but no one would represent the injured patient.
    The problem, as usual, is the insurance companies, not the plaintiffs or their lawyers.
    end hijack….

  33. I definitely hurts the cause… but has anyone thought about the fact that their own party are hanging them out to dry?  The platform of the Democratic party has become “abortion, all the time, for everyone, now”.  It’s also “we must destroy human embryos for science, even if there is no tangible benefit of this research”.  And don’t forget “though marriage is a sacrament, in other words, otherworldly, we must degrade it into a license that publicly legitimizes your sexual relationship with whatever it is you want to have sex with”.

    Within the past two years of a Democrat-controlled Legislative and Executive branches and a largely liberal-controlled Judicial branch, that the last thing they actually think about is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, helping the widows and orphans?  What have they done but push abortion and gay “marriage” in this country and around the world?

    I’m not giving the Repugnantcans a pass, either.  They are no allies to the pro-life movement even though they claim to be.  With either party you get the same people, just different party pins on their lapels.  But, at least, the Repugnantcans don’t boast a perfect trifecta of animus towards basic Catholic/Christian teachings in their POLITICAL PLATFORM like the DemocRATS do!

  34. By the way, I’m not for tort reform in regards to medical malpractice.  As one commenter pointed out above, there are hardly any frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.  Since our medical schools have become nothing more than businesses at the same rate that hospitals have transformed, we’ve been pumping out more and more unqualified doctors into the industry.  Also, we’ve been importing doctors from overseas, from countries such as India that are the equivalent of Dr. Nick on The Simpsons.  Not to mention, med schools no longer require the Hippocratic Oath to be taken and a doctor can hardly escape lessons on how to kill the unborn or harvest organs from patients that aren’t truly dead.  It’s no wonder being saturated in teachings of how to kill humans rather than save them that they get sloppy and end up amputating the wrong leg or removing the wrong kidney.  Throw in the pagan religions or pseudo-athiest beliefs of some new doctors that do not morally bind them to the care, love, and respect of their patients and you have a reason why they should not regulate medical malpractice suits.

    Get rid of the notion that doctors, in general, are healers that are here to help us.  I can’t tell you how much my wife and I have to scrutinize each and every doctor we go to now.  75% of them we can’t trust.

  35. Joshua Z. said: I would argue that incompetency wasn’t just Stupak’s, but the entire United States’ for ever letting Obama get in.

    There were some of us who knew where he stood, worked to inform others as best as we could, but found MSM  to be complicit with the campaign.   I’ll agree – it’s imperative that every voter fully knows the character of those they’re handing power to.
    I also agree with Hal – $1000 is way too little for serious tort reform.

  36. RE Hal: Yeah, $1,000 wouldn’t discourage all frivolous lawsuits, but neither do you want to risk harming someone who’s had a genuine malpractice case go the wrong way.  The intent is just to provide some level of deterrent to make people think twice before filing frivolous lawsuits, and reduce the burden on courts and often-overworked doctors.  Also, judging by articles like these, it appears malpractice claims are on the rise, and simply settling one costs $650,000 for doctors too busy to confront the claims, while awards typically range over $1 million.
    I also sought to confront what I saw as another cause of the malpractice lawsuits, overworked doctors making mistakes, by limiting the number of hours doctors in the government health care grant process could work, and requiring sharing of malpractice costs by hospitals based proportionally on how many hours a hospital has a doctor work.  That’s section 401 and 402 of the bill I created, where I also proposed fines on supervisors who have doctors work over 16 hours in a day.
    At any rate, I created the bill back in November 2009 to provide pro-life Democrats an alternative to the health care bill with its abortion agenda at the time.  The bill could probably do with some fine-tuning, and I think the grant process may have had a bug in the formula which needs to b fixed – I was rushing to finish it at the time.  I’m sure it could be improved, but still prefer the structure of it to the bill we got.
    I for one am concerned some of the recent articles coming out seeking to deny malpractice claims are rising could be due to the liberal media wanting to deny tort reform should have been in the health care bill.  It wasn’t because lawyers and law firms are key funders of Democrats.
    Furthermore, Obama was withholding Tort Reform to try and bribe Republicans into supporting the bill.  They refused, saying it would still be a very bad bill.

  37. I think that a fair number of lawsuits are frivolous–enough, at least, that will require reform. I don’t think malpractice insurance rates should be as high as they are and there is a reason for that.
    However I do think that the med schools and med students in general are partly to blame for general dissatisfaction in doctors. This is another reason I am in PA school and not med school- they focus on holistic care. In interdisciplinary meetings we have gotten into arguments with med students who believe psychosocial care is not important and that pt education regarding their disease is a social workers’ job. I think that a large number of students go to med school for the money nowadays; and also that they are taught all of the science and little of the art and ethics of medical practice. My 2 cents

  38. Actually, the earlier link I provided wasn’t even the final version of the bill I wrote though, but the November 2009 version, not the March 2010 one created just before the final health care bill passed:
    I was looking at it and wondering why it had some mistakes and realized I’d uploaded the old version I’d posted, not the newer one.
    I really wanted pro-life Democrats to be able to vote for a pro-life health care bill that would confront problems head-on, rather than with unnecessary spending and bureaucracy. I thought this bill could’ve created a system to provide health care more inexpensively than our current system, given time, by avoiding working through insurers altogether.

  39. Malpractice claims may be on the rise because malpractice is on the rise.  Not sure.  I do know that no lawyer in his or her right mind would ever bring a case without being firmly convinced the doctor’s conduct fell below the minimum standard of practice AND that it could be proven in court.  I like doctors, I represent doctors in court frequently.  My father is a doctor.  But…I have to say, I have seen some horrible conduct by doctors that has led to a great deal of needless suffering.  As my father likes to say, “Remember, 50% of all doctors finished in the bottom half of their class.”

  40. Without going into too much detail, loosing pro-life Democrats–if we loose all of them–would be a terrible blow to pro-lifers as a whole.  Certainly we should get rid of the Stupakish sorts, who will fold at the last minute.  But tying pro-life success to the success of either party can only hurt us in the long run.  Yes, yes, I know the Republicans are popular now.  Two years ago, nobody figured they would be, and the Democrats were calling it the “Death of American Conservativism.”  They were wrong.  This right now is not the “Death of American Liberalism.”  It’s just another swing of the pendulum.  Sooner or later, the pendulum will swing back.  It is essential to cultivate pro-lifers on every spot of the political spectrum.
    And to everyone saying, “How can you support a party with abortion as a plank in their platform?” the answer is, I don’t.  I’m a Conservative.  I almost never vote for Democrats, except when they are DINOs.  But how can we expect the Democrats to take out the abortion plank if none of their own number are pro-life?  This is not the time to turn up our noses.  This is the time to start cultivating and making friends with the genuine pro-lifers in the Democratic party and start building them up.  We will need them down the road, and they don’t have the same support in their party to stand up for the unborn as their Republican counterparts do.  They will need us down the road, too.

  41. I guess I just understand our side, which is that doctors, nurses, PAs, etc make mistakes sometime. If they are guilty of gross misconduct or malpractice they definitely deserve to be brought up to trial. But I think that a large number of lawsuits come from 2 places: 1) I have no money to pay for these hospital bills and I can nail the doctor to get the money for it, and 2) Dr’s should not make mistakes, and ‘we medical folk’ have lots of money to spare.
    Granted, there is proof that mistakes are more forgiveable to otherwise good doctors that maintain rapport and respect with their patients, but also when lawyers advise us to never say ‘I’m sorry’ because it can lead to a lawsuit as an admission of guilt, it can be very frightening. There is a liklihood that every health care provider (save nurses likely b/c they don’t have a sizeable paycheck) will get sued at some time in their lives…and while some of those providers indeed deserve it, others do not. You have to admit..that’s a scary statistic.. that leads to a lot of otherwise unnecessary tests (protective medicine) that ultimately cost the system more money….viscious cycle.

  42. I disagree with Joseph Zambrano’s plan to forcibly appropriate the work product of one person in order to support another person.  His misguided view is unfortunately shared by  a majority of the USCCB, whose charities I am now boycotting.
    The government run  programs of welfare and health care  are in error because they involve slavery, stealing, and they are also inefficient.

  43. “Granted, there is proof that mistakes are more forgiveable to otherwise good doctors that maintain rapport and respect with their patients, but also when lawyers advise us to never say ‘I’m sorry’ because it can lead to a lawsuit as an admission of guilt, it can be very frightening.”
    Kate, if lawyers are saying that, they are not worth the  money the giant insurance companies are paying them.  Studies have show pretty conclusively that the rate of being sued drops dramatically if the doctor/nurse says “I’m sorry.”

  44. RE: Hal

    Still, I think this is related to how overworked doctors are.  It’s gotten bad enough that a large number of doctors surveyed have said they plan to retire or reduce their workload.


    If you work anyone 16, 18, 20 hours a day like doctors have been, constantly on call, you’re going to get mistakes.  That is why I sought to place restrictions on how long doctors can work, and fine supervisors who try to circumvent the rules.  At the least, if a hospital has a doctor work long hours, they should be proportionally responsible for the malpractice costs if mistakes are made, to how long they made the doctors work.

    I don’t think people realize how badly overworked doctors are. As quoted from USA Today,


    “First-year doctors to get shorter work shifts: 16 hours… Rookie doctors will be getting shorter work shifts, along with stricter supervision, but a medical student group said Wednesday that the changes don’t do enough to protect sleep-deprived residents and their patients… The biggest change affects interns — new doctors in their first year of medical residency. Their work shift limit is being cut from 24 hours to 16 hours, and ‘strategic napping’ is strongly recommended. The maximum shift length remains 24 hours for residents in their second year of training and beyond.”

    Now, I don’t know about you but if I had to work 16-24 hour shifts on a regular basis, I think I might make mistakes here and there no matter how conscientious I was. And then to lose millions for a mistake when it’s made – no wonder doctors are looking to retire early.

    A big problem with this health care reform bill is it did not take into account doctor shortages. Are already overworked doctors going to be expected to work even longer hours?


  45. RE: Pharmer
    First of all, my name is Joshua, not Joseph – he’s my brother.  Secondly, what kind of moral nation allows their people to starve in the streets?

    If you’d read my book, you’d know I don’t support just giving handouts.  I addressed this fact that Republicans don’t like welfare because it should be worked for, and suggested government provide work programs for the poor in exchange for welfare, since A) it would give them pride in working for what they get, B) help the community with work that benefits everyone and which normally volunteers would be depended on to do, and C) it would give them work experience for getting jobs afterward.

    The Declaration of Independence says the right to life is inalienable.  If someone is dying from a horrible disease that’s not their fault, shouldn’t their government protect them?  Isn’t that why governments exist, according to the Declaration of Independence, to care for the rights of their people?  And if not, they should just be replaced?  That’s straight out of the Declaration of Independence.

    Where I disagree with Democrats in general is making this a massive takeover of the health care industry, and covering all health care for everyone.  I believe it should be strictly limited only to what is absolutely basic care like broken bones, a yearly checkup, vaccinations, etc.  If someone’s lifestyle choices are incurring the health problems, then maybe the government shouldn’t fund it.  I actually spelled out in my bill that those smoking or using alcohol should not be funded by government for care for treatment related to such habits.  I also sought to legislate against cosmetic surgery unless for fires or such stuff.

    I support only basic treatment from government, and leaving the rest to the private sector.  A good example I love to use is the Post Office.  The USPS provides a government service but leaves the private sector intact, so privately owned companies like Fed-Ex and UPS can compete to provide more niche or specific services.  Likewise, I only support government providing a basic level of care, and leaving the private sector alone to provide more advanced care, although of course providing some rules for the private sector to make sure they don’t harm patients or act immorally.

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