Stupak: No Regrets for Role in Allowing Pro-Abortion Obamacare

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2011   |   11:11AM   |   Washington, DC

Congressman Bart Stupak went from one of the darlings of the pro-life movement to the public face of its opposition to Obamacare overnight when he changed position and supported the legislation. He says now he has no regrets.

One year after pro-abortion President Barack Obama traded a much-maligned and ineffective executive order for votes from Stupak and his colleagues for the health care law, which contains significant loopholes allowing abortion funding, Stupak told The Hill he has no regrets.

“You take the bad with the good, but it came down that I played a pivotal role,” Stupak told the congressional magazine. “I’m comfortable with doing it, I’m comfortable with the legislation, and I still think it’s a good piece of legislation.”

Stupak received so much criticism for his part in allowing the government takeover of health care that he became one of the most hated politicians for conservative and pro-life voters. The criticism was so much and became so personal that Stupak eventually retired from Congress and was replaced by a pro-life Republican, physician Dan Benishek, who promised to make opposing Obamacare the centerpiece of his service in Washington.

Now, Stupak is a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and he told The Hill it’s “not unusual” for him to still face public criticism from strangers who recognize him at places he goes.

The criticism of Stupak’s deal has also come from top Republicans and pro-life groups as recently as this year.

Speaker John Boehner said, earlier this year that the executive order “was a maneuver by the Obama Administration to circumvent a bipartisan majority in the House – and the will of the American people.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said “nothing is stopping the health care law from funding women’s abortions … Not the current language, and definitely not the phony executive order agreed to by Rep. Bart Stupak.”

“Back when Congressman Stupak struck this deal, pro-lifers were shocked that his coalition would trade away their votes for a meaningless piece of paper. Executive orders can do a lot of things–but impacting the health care law isn’t one of them,” Perkins explains. “This was a symbolic gesture by a shrewd White House. It may have gotten the better of Stupak, but it won’t fool Americans.”

Stupak publicly attacked pro-life groups that criticized his move and William Saunders, a vice president at Americans United for Life, said last year that pro-life advocates were “deeply disappointed” he did so.

“It appears that if Stupak and even three other pro-life democrats had withheld their votes, the bill would not have passed. Would that have been a good outcome? You bet it would … because the bill marked a massive expansion of abortion,” Saunders writes.

“Now, Congressman Stupak may disagree with that assessment, and he may honestly believe President Obama’s executive order was the best deal for pro-life Americans. However, for him to suggest, as he did in his op-ed, that pro-life opposition to the deal that he struck is ‘disingenuous at best’ and that the deal he reached is somehow significantly ‘pro-life’ — is simply untrue,” Saunders added.