Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Death of the Pro-Life Democrat
With all apologies to Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL), the Pro-Life Democrat is dead. Certainly there will still be some pro-lifers who try to remain in the Democrat Party, but ultimately the party has no place for their politics and many of them will surrender for a seat at the table (both Al Gore and Dan Kucinich used to be Pro Life for example).
William McGurn has written a powerful editorial in the Wall Street Journal that is both scathing in its condemnation of so-called Pro-Life Democrats like Rep. Bart Stupak, but also incredibly sad in the fact that the Democrat Party no longer has a discernible place for pro-lifers. This means that rather than being a bipartisan issue, pro-life concerns ultimately become completely partisan.
When Bart Stupak announced Sunday he was now a "yes" on the health-care bill, six Democrats stood with him. Even that handful would have been enough to defeat the bill. Instead, they accepted the fig leaf of an executive order—and threw away all the hard-won gains they had made.
Amid the recriminations it's easy to overlook what Mr. Stupak had cobbled together. His amendment restricting federal funding for abortions, passed in November, marked the only bipartisan vote in this whole health-care mess. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, pro-life Democrats had seized the legislative initiative in the teeth of their leadership's opposition—and brought the party of abortion to heel.
Now Mr. Stupak has thrown it away. By caving at the last hour, he discredited all who stood with him. (What does it say about Ohio's Marcy Kaptur and Pennsylvania's Chris Carney that they had already agreed to vote yes even before the fig leaf of the executive order had come through?) In addition to undermining an encouraging partnership with pro-lifers across the congressional aisle, Mr. Stupak signaled that, in the end, you can't count on pro-life Democrats. (For the Rest please read at the Wall Street Journal).
The truth is, Representative Stupak and the other Pro-Life Democrats threw away their ability to make the Health Care Reform Pro-Life. The promise of an Executive Order has an expiration date and doesn't carry the power of a legislative act. Bart Stupak and the Stupak Dozen had an incredible amount of power because their votes were required for passage in the House. Yet, one by one (with the exception of Rep. Dan Lipinski) they bought into the "segregated funding" of the Senate Bill.
It also turns out that Rep. Bart Stupak has recently obtained $750K for airports in his district. One cannot help but wonder if that was his price. One also cannot help but compare Rep. Stupak to Sir Richard Rich.
It is sad to see even the Pro-Life Democrats cave at a time when they had real power to positively impact an otherwise horrible bill by making it uncompromisingly pro-life.
Representative Stupak meet Sir Richard Rich, Sir Richard Rich meet Bart Stupak.