Bart Stupak Opposes Obama Health Care Plan Over Its Massive Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bart Stupak Opposes Obama Health Care Plan Over Its Massive Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 23
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Congressman Bart Stupak, the Michigan lawmaker whose group of pro-life Democrats could decide the fate of the pro-abortion, government-run health care bill in the House, says he doesn’t like the new health care plan President Barack Obama unveiled yesterday because it funds abortions.

With the House barely passing the bill the first time, thanks to votes from Stupak and 10-12 pro-life Democrats who were pleased Stupak’s abortion-funding ban was a part of it, where the lawmaker stands is important.

With the Senate bill having no ban, and Obama’s plan for changes adding more abortion funding to the mix, Stupak and his colleagues have promised to vote no if the final version of the bill funds abortions, as will likely be the case.

Stupak released a statement that American Spectator reporter Philip Klein posted on the conservative web site.

"Unfortunately, the President’s proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion," Stupak says. "The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable."

"While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform," Stupak adds.

Klein writes that, under the controversial reconciliation process, the Senate bill will have a tough time getting through the House.

While "some commentators see a growing momentum for finishing the health care legislation that was put on life support after Sen. Scott Brown’s surprise victory in Massachusetts," Klein maintains "it’s difficult to see how Democrats cobble together enough votes to pass a final health care bill in the House."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats got the House bill approved on a 220-215 margin — only after the Stupak amendment was added to ban abortion funding.

Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana, the only Republican to back the bill, has since said he would vote no because of the abortion funding.

"In addition, Florida’s Robert Wexler unexpectedly resigned, Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced plans to retire at the end of this month to run for governor of Hawaii and Rep. John Murtha passed away," Klein notes. "Taken together, that brings Pelosi down to 216 votes — which would be insufficient to pass a health care bill."

Add Stupak and his pro-life colleagues to the mix and Pelosi stands to lose another 10-12 votes, Klein observes.

"The biggest problem she faces is that President Obama’s proposal maintains the abortion provision in the Senate bill," he writes.

"When the bill passed the House the first time around, 41 Democrats voted for the health care bill only after voting for the Stupak amendment. Any of them could explain switching to a “no” vote on a final bill by citing abortion funding," Klein said.

Also, Klein believes that the mantra from Obama and top pro-abortion Democrats — that the health care bill may as well be passed anyway because Democrats will be attacked on it in the elections — won’t sell with many Democrats facing particularly tough re-election campaigns.

"The problem with this analysis is that even if one were to accept the fact that jamming through a massive and highly unpopular piece of legislation could be a political winner for the Democratic Party as a whole, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good for each individual Democratic member of Congress. This is especially true for the Democrats who hold seats in conservative districts," he says.

"Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the House health care bill, 31 of them were elected in districts that went for John McCain in 2008," Klein notes. "Given that a Republican who campaigned on being a vote against the health care bill was just elected to fill the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy in a state that went for Obama by 26 points, it’s hard to see why anybody in a McCain district who already voted "no" would decide switch their vote to “yes.”"

He concludes: "None of this is to say that it’s literally impossible for Pelosi to find the votes necessary to pass a health care bill. There are several retiring members who may be willing to vote for it because they don’t have to stand for reelection, some may be won over by provisions in the latest version of the bill, and a few may be willing to take suicide votes for the team. But this week’s political theater shouldn’t obscure how difficult it will be for Obama to get a comprehensive health care bill across the finish line."

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