Michigan’s Cheap Date
Bart Stupak surrenders his power and writes the obituary of the "pro-life Democrat."


Kathryn Jean Lopez

‘Don’t wait for Bart Stupak to save the day.”

I said that three weeks ago, over and over again. I did it in part to encourage listeners to the radio show I was co-hosting to keep communicating with their congressmen. I said it too, of course, because I believed it. Because it’s unwise to put one’s trust in princes. Because men are men. We’re sometimes weak. We’re sometimes not who we say we are.

I said it, though, while being impressed with Bart Stupak. He stood against his party, and by doing so got life-protective language added into the House health-care legislation in November. He challenged supposed pro-lifers Ben Nelson and Bob Casey to a higher standard than they were willing to fight for in the Senate. He pressed on even while the president and the speaker of the House pretended that abortion funding wasn’t an issue — they claimed it wasn’t in their legislation and called those who said otherwise liars. Well, it was an issue. And it’s in the bill that passed last night. If it hadn’t been, the Democratic leadership and the White House wouldn’t have been forced to go through the motions of negotiating with Stupak.

Unfortunately, if Bart Stupak truly wanted to ensure that human dignity was respected in this legislation, he wouldn’t have surrendered. But surrender he did — and then some, declaring the Democratic party the protectors of the unborn on the House floor last night.

The Democratic party is nothing of the sort — which is another reason no one who wanted to defeat the taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare should have expected a Stupak-led victory in this Washington environment. It’s the party that will never offend the abortion industry. It’s the party that owns partial-birth abortion.

I have no idea what Bart Stupak was thinking. Perhaps he couldn’t endure the pressure on him, on his staff, and, most intimately, on his family. Perhaps he lacked an appreciation of the power he had to hold up the president’s signature legislation for the sake of the unborn and then got entranced by the pats on the back he got from leadership for saving their day, which he very likely did. A Democrat who wanted to vote for universal health care, in the end, Stupak proved himself the cheapest of dates. He traded all this power — power that had Nancy Pelosi screaming at a pro-life Democrat on the House floor Sunday — for a mess of pottage: for a farce of an executive order that holds no power over the codified statute of Obamacare.

Throughout the whole ordeal — both while Stupak was fighting and after he caved — I couldn’t get the late Pennsylvania governor Robert Casey out of my mind. He was pro-life, and he was a Democrat. And he didn’t actually have a home in the Democratic party. If you’re pro-life and you’re a Democrat, for decades now, you’ve found yourself empty-handed, duped, angry, or humiliated.


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