Pro-Life Democrats Still Standing Firm, May Defeat Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 8, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrats Still Standing Firm, May Defeat Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 8
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The pro-life Democrats in the House are still standing firm against the Senate health care bill and its abortion funding. If they hold their ground until the end and put pro-life principles ahead of partisan politics or threats from President Barack Obama or Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they could find themselves heroes.

With a lopsided majority in Congress, Pelosi should have no problem railroading the Senate bill through the House.

But, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, a stalwart group of pro-life Democrats is giving Pelosi fits by threatening to vote no because the Senate bill contains massive abortion funding and other problems.

"Some people are saying we have to vote for the Senate bill. That ain’t going to happen," Stupak said last week.

The strategy to win over Stupak and his colleagues has, so far, centered on two ideas: deny and negotiate.

Pelosi has gone out of her way to deny that abortion funding is in the Senate health care bill while she and her top lieutenants talk about a companion bill that could be passed alongside the Senate bill and reconciliation measure to pacify Stupak.

The denial is undermined by abortion advocates like Rep. Diana DeGette — who said "The good news is that the Senate bill does allow" abortion coverage — and by the fact that the Senate will not likely accept the companion abortion funding ban.

That is leading some pro-life Democrats in Stupak’s circle to reaffirm their opposition.

In responding today to a question from the Weekly Standard asking if the congressman is "open to voting for a health care bill that lacks the Stupak amendment," Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinoi’s spokesman Nathaniel Zimmer said no.

"No. Congressman Lipinski will not vote for a health care bill that provides federal funding for abortion," Zimmer said.

Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota is in agreement, telling Congressional Quarterly on February 24 "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn’t have the House abortion language in it."

John McCormack, a conservative Weekly Standard writer, says he has no doubt that the pro-life Democrats will stand firm.

"What’s interesting about the emphatic opposition of Stupak, Lipinski, and Oberstar is that they are all liberals who easily won reelection in 2008. That year, Stupak had a 90% liberal rating from Americans for Democratic Action and a 32-point margin of victory; Oberstar had an 80% ADA rating and a 36-point margin of victory; and Lipinski had a 90% ADA rating and a 52-point margin of victory," he explains.

"In other words, their opposition is based on principle, not in fear that they might lose reelection. Their electoral security has left Stupak, Oberstar, and Lipinski free to vote their consciences. How many other pro-life Democrats will join them?" he continues.

Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, in a new editorial at Human Events, agrees.

"What the Democratic leadership refuses to accept is that they can’t run the country as hard-left pro-abortionists when they won their majority with conservative pro-life candidates," she says.

She points out that George Stephanopoulos asked Stupak recently if he is "prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"

"Yes, we’re prepared to take responsibility. Let’s face it, I want to see health care. But we’re not going to bypass some principles and beliefs that we feel strongly about," Stupak responded.

For pro-life groups, that’s a solid stance against any health care bill that funds abortions.

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