After his decision to vote for the health care bill, Stupak has been villified by people from both sides of the abortion issue. Below are comments from Stupak addressing the pro-life groups as well as the USCCB's criticism of his decision to vote for the health care bill. My comments to Stupak's quotes are in BOLD.
Washington D.C., Mar 26, 2010 / 11:02 am (CNA).- The health care reform bill would have passed the House without the votes of Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life Democrats because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” Stupak told CNA in a Thursday phone interview.
So what? How is this a defense for voting for the bill? Is your voting based on whether or not your vote is part of the winning side or is your vote based on principle? If Stupak and his pro-life democrats votes weren't needed, why did President Obama concede and offer Stupak a "compromise" by signing an executive order? Stupak and his pro-life democrats very well may have been the deciding votes in passing this pro-abortion legislation.
“The Speaker always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” he said, meaning that some members who voted ‘no’ would have voted ‘yes’ if needed. “I had a number of members who thanked us after because they could vote no.”
If that is truly the case, that decison is on those house members and should not influence Stupak's decison. This comment is very revealing about how corrupt the political process is in this county. These members of the house would be willing to vote against the will of the people and even their own conscience "if needed." Clearly they were under severe pressure from the liberal leadership of the democratic party, but this admission shows a clear lack of character and leadership by these congressmen.
The Michigan Democrat explained that by opting for the executive order, pro-life Democrats believe they ensured the legislation was “somewhat restrictive” towards abortion funding.
From everything I've read and how I understand it, the exectutive order has little to no legislative power. The wording of the bill will remain law and will be held up in courts. The very fact that he describes the exectutive order as "somewhat restrictive" acknowledges that there will be public funding of abortion.
The Congressman explained the political tactic in response to a question about how he would respond to pro-life advocates who felt betrayed by his vote for the legislation.
He suggested these advocates were “not aware of the legislative process,” explaining that there were only 45 “life votes” in the Senate.
Not aware of the legislative process? That is hardly the issue here. Several pro-life groups and the USCCB have experts available in the field of law and were well aware of the pro-abortion language in the health care bill. They also know that the executive order is little more than a symbolic act; something that even Planned Parenthood acknowledged. You know that if Planned Parenthood is happy with the legislation, it is very bad legislation. What does the number of pro-life votes in the Senate have to do with Stupak's vote? He is incinuating that if the health care bill had pro-life language holding up the law of the land against public funding for abortion then the bill would not pass the Senate. Well guess what congressman, we believe that the health care bill was fundamentally flawed and should have been voted against unless essential problems were fixed. Stupak's pro-life convictions clearly aren't as strong as his desire to pass any health care bill.
“The Speaker could have passed this bill without us, and then you would have a bill laden with federal government funding for abortion, especially federally funded health centers.
“So now we have a bill that is somewhat restrictive, not as much as we like. And we have an executive order that will enforce the Hyde provisions in this new law,” he continued, characterizing the order as an “ironclad commitment.”
Stupak's early dedication to insert the Stupak amendment to the house bill was admirable. However, he knows that the executive order has little to no power over the pro-abortion legislation. I understand that he has to try to defend his vote, but he's not going to win over many real pro-lifers with this argument.
In the course of the interview, CNA asked Rep. Stupak about remarks he reportedly made accusing the U.S. bishops and pro-life groups of hypocrisy. He told CNA he questioned whether some of the pro-life groups “were more interested in protecting the sanctity of life or defeating health care.” Since the time he made remarks questioning pro-life groups’ motives, he said, the U.S. bishops’ most recent statement has led him to believe they were still interested in passing health care. "National Right to Life, I don’t think they ever were. I think they were more interested in defeating the health care bill, no matter what it costs."
Mr. Stupak, it's not an eiter or question. The US bishops have ALWAYS been supportive of health care reform. However, they believe as do pro-life groups that certain fundamental issues must be addressed. The sanctity of life does trump passing a flawed health care bill. Stupak clearly places health care legislation over the sanctity of life. The problem is that he acts like the two are mutually exclusive. There is a way to pass real health care reform and still protect and respect the sanctity of life at all stages. This misunderstanding of how certain issues are more important than others is a big problem not just with Stupak but several Christians I'm afraid. He fails to make the connection that without the protection of life, we will see the negative effects of this bill spread.
“The reality is, in Senate you need 60 votes, we have 45 pro-life votes, as I’ve told both the Catholic bishops and Right to Life.
“Help me find 15 more votes, and we’ll pass your statutory language. Until that time, we cannot. Therefore we have to do all we can to protect the sanctity of life, and that is why the executive order, the colloquy, and the language of the bill will, to my mind, protect the sanctity of life.”
The only way to truly protect the sanctity of life was to insert statutory language. If the bill doesn't pass because of this language, then it was a bad bill and should not be passed. This is further proof that all Stupak was concerned about was passing a health care bill regardless of whether or not the sanctity of life was protected.
While there may be future opportunities to fix the legislation on abortion, he said, he did not indicate he saw flaws in the application of the abortion funding provisions.
The executive order has just gone into effect, he explained, saying he has not heard “any reports of any federal clinics or anyone performing abortions.”
Don't be naive Stupak. You know that the legislation on abortion needs to be fixed. Your demand for an executive order is confirmation of that. Stupak also charged that pro-life groups were disingenuous because he believed that they were more interested in protecting the sanctity of life than in passing health care reform. Again, I say that those two are not mutually exclusive. I believe Stupak is the one who was being disingenuous by claiming to protect the sanctity of life when in fact his decision to vote for this health care bill does the exact opposite. He may be able to justify his decision to himself, by his decision may very well have been the deciding factor in thousands more abortions not to mention all the other flaws of the bill.
Well, the health care bill passed. Pro-life groups and the average American did all we could to make our voices heard but ultimately they fell on deaf ears not all that unlike those voices of the unborn. While we lost this battle, we have not lost the war. We must elect people who truly pro-life and will vote based on principle and not on political whims. There is still hope that this bad legislation could be revised or repealed. Let us continue to pray for our country and our politcal and religious leaders. God bless!