bart stupak press conference executive order.jpgBy almost all accounts the executive order crafted yesterday to appease House Democrat pro-lifers was nothing more than an affirmation of the Nelson Amendment Congressman Stupak (pictured right at a press conference touting the order) had opposed until yesterday. For instance, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards wrote in a press release

Nonetheless, we regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Also by most accounts the executive order will be legally worth about as much as the paper it is printed on. Richards called it “a symbolic gesture,” while gloating that the just passed healthcare plan would “significantly increase access to reproductive health care.” Believe me, Richards knows more about the minutiae of this legislation than Stupak. I’m confident her people helped write it.
Stupak today acknowledged at this point he wasn’t positive all Americans wouldn’t be forced to pay an abortion tax, even with the executive order. Following is the 1st cable interview Stupak gave after the vote yesterday, to Fox’s Megyn Kelly. She asked him about this tax (i.e., “exchanges”) at about 4:42. After giving muddled answers Stupak finally said at about 6:30 he’s not sure about them:

That provision that you speak of, and the executive order also mentions it, doesn’t go into effect until 2014, and as the colloquy on the floor was last night with Chairman Waxman, we’re gonna still have further discussion on this. We basically have about 4 years yet to address this aspect of the bill on the exchanges.

Last night there was a very strange moment. It freaked me out, actually. Leading up to it, according to CNN:

Even during the final hours of debating the bill, Republicans tried to derail the bill over abortion language. After the House voted for the Senate bill, Republicans introduced a motion that sought to send the bill back to committee and amend its abortion language. The motion failed.
As it turned out, the Republicans’ motion included strict abortion language that Stupak himself had written in the fall and was unable to secure in this bill.

You may have heard this referred to as a “motion to recommit.” Had the same # of Democrats voted for the Stupak Amendment last night as did in November (which, with Republicans passed 240-194), it would have sunk the healthcare bill in its current form.
At this point Stupak took to the floor to implore members to vote against his very own amendment…

I was shocked not just by Stupak’s tone but his rhetoric. When he introduced the Stupak Amendment it was on principle. But when Republicans did, it was political chicanery. And it is the Democrats who are the defenders or preborn life? That’s crazy talk, and Stupak knows it. Or he did know it until being brainwashed over the past couple days.

This motion does not promote life. It is the Democrats who have stood up for the principle of no public funding for abortions. It is Democrats through the President’s executive order that ensures the sanctity of life is protected because all life is precious and all life should be honored.
Democrats guarantee all life of the unborn to the last breath of a senior citizen is respected, for the unborn child and his or her mother will finally have pre- and postnatal care under this bill….
We stand for the American people! We stand up for life! Vote “no” on this motion to recommit….

Crazy talk. How quickly Stupak went to the dark side. Thanks in large part to Stupak’s encouragement to oppose it, the Stupak Amendment failed last night 199 to 232.
Bottom line: Bart Stupak supported the Stupak Amendment before he opposed it and opposed the the Nelson Amendment before he supported it.
[Photo via the Associated Press]

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