Blog Post

Bart Stupak Publishes Defense of His Vote

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist In an op-ed appearing in the Washington Post, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who shocked the pro-life community by agreeing to vote yes on the pro-abortion health care reform bill in exchange for an executive order from President Obama, said he made the deal because he believed the reform bill would have passed anyway and would have been worse for the unborn without the last minute deal. In his editorial, Rep. Stupak accused pro-life groups of not being truly pro-life but were rather politicizing life issues as a means to defeat health care reform." “The pro-life groups rallied behind me -- many without my knowledge or consent -- not necessarily because they shared my goals of ensuring protections for life and passing health-care reform but because they viewed me as their best chance to kill health-care legislation.” Once it was clear that the House leadership would eventually obtain the 216 votes necessary to pass health-care reform, “I was left with a choice,” he said. “Vote against the bill and watch it become law with no further protections for life or reach an agreement that prevents federal funding for abortions.” For this reason, he and other pro-life Democrats struck the agreement with President Obama to issue an Executive Order that would ensure that all Hyde Amendment protections which prohibit the use of tax dollars for abortion would apply to the bill. “No, an executive order is not as strong as the statutory language we fought for at the start,” he admitted, but said they had received an "ironclad" commitment from the president that no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions.   “Throughout history, executive orders have carried the full force and effect of law and have served as an important means of implementing public policy. Perhaps the most famous executive order was the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. More recently, in 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13435, restricting embryonic stem-cell research. This executive order protected the sanctity of life and was ‘applauded’ and ‘welcomed’ by pro-life advocates. That these same people would now claim that President Obama's executive order maintaining the sanctity of life is not worth the paper it is written on is disingenuous at best.” He goes on to claim that the language in Obama’s executive order is standard language in any executive order, including the one Pres. Bush issued on embryonic stem-cell research. “To further protect against federal funding for abortion, during floor debate on the health-care reform bill I engaged in a colloquy with Rep. Henry Waxman to make clear congressional intent that the provisions in the bill, combined with the executive order, will ensure that outcome. Such colloquies are often referred to in court cases when an attempt is being made to determine Congress's intent. This, too, was no minor concession by those opposed to our efforts, and it is a tremendous victory for those protecting the sanctity of life.” He concludes by stating this his goal from the start of the health care debate “was to see health-care reform pass while maintaining the long-standing principle of the sanctity of life. The president's executive order upholds this principle and current law that no federal funds be used for abortion. I and other pro-life Democrats are pleased that we were able to hold true to our principles and vote for a bill that is pro-life at every stage of life and that provides 32 million Americans with access to high-quality, affordable health care.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®




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