Pro-Life Groups Respond to Retirement of Bart Stupak After Pro-Abortion Health Care Vote
by Steven Ertelt
April 11, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading national pro-life organizations appear pleased with the decision by Congressman Bart Stupak to tender his resignation from Congress after providing the crucial votes for the massively pro-abortion health care bill. However, they are disappointed he decided not to face voters at the polls in November, where he would have had to have been accountable for it.
Stupak announced his resignation on Friday after earlier reports showed him saying he would run for re-election.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, told LifeNews.com that Stupak appears to understand that votes have consequences.
"It is unfortunate that, after years of pro-life leadership, Rep. Stupak caved during the final hours of the healthcare debate and voted to fund abortions with taxpayer dollars," said Dannenfelser. "With our latest grassroots campaign we criticized his decision to do so and announced our commitment to find a true pro-life member to represent his district."
"In the days leading up to the healthcare vote our polling in the first district of Michigan showed that seventy-eight percent of his constituents said they opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. Votes have consequences and he understands now what the polling revealed: a vote for that bill was a vote against the will of his constituents. Yet he chose to do it and is suffering the consequences," the pro-life women’s leader added.
Some pro-life advocates noted Stupak’s long record of standing up for pro-life principles and said they were deeply disappointed he "caved" on one of the most important abortion-related votes since Roe.
Matt Smith of Catholic Advocate told LifeNews.com: "For months, Catholic Advocate and numerous other pro-life organizations around the country praised Congressman Bart Stupak for his stalwart defense of life during the health care debate and thought we finally had a pro-life Democrat willing to fight the culture of death. Then, on that fateful weekend in March, pro-life Americans shook their heads with disappointment and puzzle upon news Congressman Stupak had compromised."
"Now the source of one of the worst compromises against life in the history of the pro-life cause is calling it quits. Rather than be held accountable by the voters in his district, Congressman Bart Stupak announced retirement," Smith continued.
"Congressman Stupak has served the people of Northern Michigan for nearly twenty years. He has endured the hardship of losing a son to suicide and worked tirelessly to focus on the role prescriptions might have played in his son’s decision so other parents would not suffer the same pain. He consistently stood for the cause of life but when it came to the biggest battle in years could not go the distance," he said.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Stupak’s vote for the pro-abortion health care bill tainted the pro-life reputation he developed during his tenure in Congress.
"For two decades Rep. Bart Stupak stood firm for the pro-life cause. It is a shame that he will leave Congress remembered more for his vote on the Obama health care bill, the largest abortion promoting piece of legislation in the last 30 years," he told LifeNews.com.
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, also responded to Stupak’s retirement.
"Congressman Stupak will forever be remembered as the man whose spine cracked at the last minute. He betrayed millions of Americans who trusted he would live up to his word and oppose government funding of abortion," she said.
Nance wonders how many other self-declared pro-life Democrats like Stupak who voted for the pro-abortion health care bill will either retire or be defeated at the polls in November.
"He saw his coming defeat and decided to cut his losses. Now the question is: How many more from his turncoat gang will follow?" she asked.
Earlier this week the Susan B. Anthony List launched a $150,000 campaign of radio ads and automated phone calls in the districts of ‘pro-life’ Democrats, including Stupak’s who voted for the pro-abortion health care bill. The calls and ads were designed to encourage pro-life voters to respond to those votes.
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