Pro-Life Democrat Leading Abortion Funding Fight Heads Home After Family Death

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 4, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Leading Abortion Funding Fight Heads Home After Family Death

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 4
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The main pro-life Democrat who has been leading the charge against abortion funding in the House health care bill has returned home to Michigan because of a death in the family. Rep. Bart Stupak’s mother-in-law, Elaine Olsen, died suddenly on Sunday.

As a result, the long-time pro-life lawmaker is back home in his district and is not expected to be in Washington the rest of the week as the lead-up to crucial votes on the health care bill continues.

Stupak is important because he has been leading the coalition of 40 pro-life Democrats who are threatening to join Republicans to vote against the health care bill due to the massive abortion funding it contains.

His congressional office released a statement confirming that, "Due to his absence, Congressman Stupak has had to cancel scheduled activities in Washington, DC this week."

His absence is already affecting the abortion debate as one pro-life lawmaker told Fox News, “Yeah. Big time," when asked if Stupak’s leaving Washington would negatively affect the fight to stop abortion funding.

But, Stupak released a statement later in the day saying that he is still participating in discussions from Michigan and that they are going nowhere.

"I have had some serious conversations over the past few days with the White House and House Leadership and I will continue to make every attempt to resolve the issue of public funding for abortion," he said, according to Fox News.

"However, there is no agreement and I will oppose bringing the bill to the floor until an amendment can be offered or language agreed that will prevent public funding for abortion," he said. "I will continue to oppose and will continue whipping my colleagues to oppose bringing the bill to the floor for a vote until there is satisfactory language to prevent public funding for abortion."

In Stupak’s absence, an apparently less-committed pro-life Democrat, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, is working with abortion advocates on what pro-life groups and lawmakers are calling a sham compromise.

The Ellsworth amendment does nothing to remove the massive new abortion-funding program in H.R. 3962 and merely allows the federal government to contract out payments to abortion businesses with government funds for the abortions it covers.

Stupak had hoped to float his own amendment to the bill that would essentially apply the Hyde amendment to it buy making sure that neither the public option nor the affordability credits could be used to fund abortions with federal dollars.

However, pro-abortion House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats are working on a Rule for debate on the bill that would include the phony Ellsworth amendment and prohibit Stupak from offering his amendment.

Olsen passed away Saturday, October 31 in Escanaba, Michigan following a brief illness.

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