For months, the Michigan Democrat has been threatening to bring down any health-care bill unless the House was given the opportunity to vote to extend the ban on taxpayer dollars for abortion to the new federal programs being created. On Saturday night, Mrs. Pelosi caved and Mr. Stupak prevailed.
The result is one of the few, real up-or-down votes we ever get on abortionâ€”and the only part of the health-care mess that shows any bipartisan consensus. In the end, 63 Democrats and Mr. Stupak joined all but one Republican on an amendment that does two things: prohibits federal funds for an abortion or for abortion coverage; allows (notwithstanding pro-choice propaganda) private insurers to offer abortion coverage so long as tax dollars are not involved.
Not that the press ever noticed. Up until almost literally the 11th hour, Mr. Stupak’s push for a vote was treated as a sideshow. Nor was President Barack Obama ever called to answer for his flatly contradictory public statements on the place of abortion (the preferred term is “reproductive health care”) in any health-care reform.
Mr. Stupak has just changed all that. On Sunday, the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, sent out an action alert asking supporters to tell Mr. Obama to “make good” on his “promise to put reproductive health care at the center of [his] health care reform plan.” She should know: She was standing next to Candidate Obama in 2007 when he declared that “reproductive care is essential care, it is basic care, so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose.”
Unfortunately for Ms. Richards, during his recent appearance before a joint session of Congress, Mr. Obama promised something different: “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
Notwithstanding the president’s promise, page 110 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill authorized the secretary of Health and Human Services to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run plan. All Mrs. Pelosi’s preferred “compromises” left this undisturbed, using what in effect would be a money-laundering scheme to cloak the reality of a federal agency paying for abortion.
But Mr. Stupak stood firm, and Mrs. Pelosi realized something would have to give if she wanted to get a health-care bill passed. So she gave Mr. Stupak his voteâ€”and his victory.
Big ups to Bart Stupak and his 62 fellow, pro-life Democrats.
If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at email@example.com.