I'm sure you all know by now that Obama's healthcare bill passed tonight, 219-212.
A couple of days ago the morning news reported that both sides had 212 votes, but that Stupak and his group of pro-life democrats were holding strong. I even joined the Stand with Stupak group on Facebook (which I un-joined tonight). I felt hopeful.
Unfortunately it seems that Stupak is just another in a long line of disappointments, made all the worse by the hope that he inspired in these past weeks.
The current claim being made by Stupak and the administration is that an executive order issued by Obama will stop abortions from being paid for by the healthcare bill.
I'm not sure why anyone would trust the word of a man who has repeatedly promised to extend "abortion rights" as far as he possibly can. If he were truly going to do something to limit abortion he would be breaking his very vocal campaign promises (and the silence from the pro-death camp and the votes for the bill from the most liberal members of congress are telling).
After the bill passed the house Republicans tried to reinsert the Stupak Amendment as a separate issue from the core bill. Twenty minutes later (it was reported by CNN) that a Republican member of the house yelled "baby killer" when Bart Stupak stood to speak against that motion.
And what does Stupak have to say now? "The motion is really a last-ditch effort of 98 years of denying Americans health care. It is the Democrats who have stood up for the principal of no public funding of abortions. It is Democrats through the president's executive order that ensure the sanctity of life is protected."
I've spent the last few hours wondering if Bart Stupak and the other members of his group really believe that life will be protected by this bill. Are they naive? Are they stupid? Or have they just sold out?
When it turns out that the bill does not protect life, Stupak will not be able to claim that he wasn't warned. This letter, written by Robert A. Destro, a Professor of Law at Catholic University of America, gave him a clear picture of what today's vote would mean:
Dear Mr. Stupak:
Questions have surfaced in the past few weeks about whether the billions of dollars the Senate health care reform bill appropriates for Community Health Centers (CHCs) will be used to pay for abortions. I have been asked by several interested parties to give my opinion on Secretary Sebelius’ recent statement asserting that abortions will not be covered.
It’s not even a close question. Abortions will be covered.
For nearly forty years, the courts have held that there are no medical or economic reasons to distinguish elective abortions from any other medical service. The basic argument is that health care coverage for women cannot be truly “comprehensive” unless – and until – elective abortions are covered just like any other medical procedure.
Federal appeals courts have been unanimous in their holdings that when Congress provides funding for “comprehensive” services, it must explicitly prohibit the use of federal dollars to pay for abortions. If there is no explicit prohibition, the courts will order the federal government to pay.not alone in my doubts. Here's what the National Right to Life Committee has to say in the wake of tonight's vote:
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) remains strongly opposed to the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590). A lawmaker who votes for this bill is voting to require federal agencies to subsidize and administer health plans that will pay for elective abortion, and voting to undermine longstanding pro-life policies in other ways as well. Pro-life citizens nationwide know that this is a pro-abortion bill. Pro-life citizens know, and they will be reminded again and again, which lawmakers deserve their gratitude for voting against this pro-abortion legislation.I can't imagine any other news story beating this one on the Sadie Frown scale, which is why I'm giving Stupak and every other person who voted for and supported the bill the Sadie Frown of the Year. They certainly earned it.
The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says.
To elaborate: The order does not truly correct any of the seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions described in NRLC's March 19 letter to the House of Representatives, which is posted here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCToHouseOnHealthBill.pdf