Remain calm about Stupak

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.

Brett Baier, Bart Stupak, abortion, Nancy Pelosi, healthcare, Barack Obama.jpgI'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?



Posted by: Janet at October 30, 2009 4:01 PM

I pray you are right. My heart stopped when I heard him say that. They will not allow the amendment to pass so they will call for a closed vote not allowing any amendments. Blue dogs will vote against the closed vote but there will not be enough to take it and then they will have cover.

Posted by: Maria at October 30, 2009 4:20 PM

I thought that he would vote for the health bill because it would still reduce abortions by making prenatal care widely available. Even if he is pro-life, universal health is something that many Democrats support.

Posted by: Vannah at October 30, 2009 4:51 PM

Does the health care bill even have Pre Natal Care MENTIONED in it AT ALL?

well, I pray you're right, Jill.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at October 30, 2009 5:22 PM


Posted by: Ezek1319 at October 30, 2009 5:35 PM

Maria, I'm not sure I'm right. But seems to me there's no sense in throwing temper tantrums at this point. If he does bail on us later, there’ll be plenty of time for that.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at October 30, 2009 6:08 PM

Congressman Stupak's amendment (the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment) would (1) prohibit the government-run "public plan" from funding abortion, and (2) prohibit the proposed new premium subsidy program from funding PRIVATE plans that cover abortion on demand. Speaker Pelosi believes that this amendment would pass -- therefore, she intends to impose a "closed rule" that will not permit the House to vote on it. This rule can be imposed ONLY if a majority of House members vote for it. If Mr. Stupak can get 40 other Democrats to vote against the closed rule, the Pelosi abortion train grinds to a halt, until she either changes some minds or gives Mr. Stupak a vote on his amendment.

Mr. Stupak has made it very clear that if the Speaker is successful in winning majority support for the closed rule, over his objections, he will vote against final passage of the bill.

The important thing for pro-life citizens to focus on now is generating as many calls as possible to the D.C. offices and in-district offices of House Democrats, urging a NO vote on the rule and support for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment -- rather than getting agitated about unlikely scenarios.

A vote for the Pelosi rule is a vote to set up a nationwide federal agency insurance program that will pay for abortion on demand -- the "public plan."

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.
more here:

Posted by: Douglas Johnson at October 30, 2009 6:31 PM

At the end of the day, I want Pelosi, Reid, and Obama to keep their hands off my health insurance.

Therefore, I want Pelosi to deny Stupak what he wants.

I want Stupak to block the legislation.

And then I want the whole darn bill to go down in flames.

Posted by: carder at October 30, 2009 8:59 PM

If the health care plan with abortion does pass, I hope you Americans are braver than us Canadians and refuse to pay taxes. They can't jail 71% of the American population!

Regarding Universal Health Care, I'm personally I can go to the doctor when needed here in Canada. I like our socialist, capitalisme system.

Posted by: Chantal at October 30, 2009 9:00 PM

Should healthcare with abortion passes, I can guarantee that the 9/12 March on DC was only a dress rehearsal.

I don't think it will be very pretty.

Posted by: carder at October 30, 2009 9:27 PM

Unfortunately, this bill DOES fund abortion and lays the ground work for funded EUTHANASIA!
IT won't cover everyone and health care will be rationed!
If our health care is so bad and so unaccesable, why is it people cross the border from the south, to come here when they are very sick? They have socialized health care in Mexico, yet, the very ill come here...
This health care bill is bad for anyone PRO LIFE and anyone interested in social justice!

Posted by: azgrandma at October 30, 2009 9:36 PM

I fear for the life of my elderly 88 year old grandmother. Since she's had a lot of health issues lately (she had a stroke at the end of July (which she has recovered from with minimal problems) and has fallen several times, including hitting her head pretty badly a few years ago when she still lived alone in her house. She now lives in assisted living). If this passes, the government will decide who is worthy of health care (who lives) and who doesn't need that treatment (who dies). Will children with disabilities that may need a special surgery be allowed to get their surgery or will they be deemed unworthy?

I betcha that babies with Downs will be 800 more times more likely to be aborted. Not to mention children with surgically fixable defects like cleft lips or club feet....they'll be aborted, too.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at October 30, 2009 11:34 PM

OK, for now...

Posted by: Peggy at November 2, 2009 10:09 AM