The Washington Times - March 23, 2010, 04:57PM

***Updated 9:42 p.m. 3/23/10***

Congressman Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, is drawing fire from pro-life groups for his support of the health care act he previously was against before President Obama promised to issue an executive order addressing Mr. Stupak’s concerns regarding the federal funding of abortions. I spoke with Mr. Stupak on Tuesday about the issues surrounding his vote.  Mr. Obama has yet to sign the executive order as of this posting: 

SEE RELATED:


PICKET: There are two things that have surfaced right after you made your decision to support the bill. One is the video of that town hall meeting.

STUPAK: In Cheboygan…yeah.

PICKET: Can you tell me about that?

STUPAK: That’s a town hall meeting, and that was in the fall before we had the Stupak amendment, and the question was, ‘Would I vote against the health care bill if it funded abortions?’ I said I would cross that when I get there, because I was negotiating on the Stupak Amendment. And what did I do? We forced a showdown with the House, we got the Stupak Amendment, and we banned abortions in the House bill.

PICKET: But, particularly, you said you would vote for the health care bill even if the language didn’t get into it.

STUPAK: That’s not what I said. If you go to the video…the unaltered video, you will find I said, ‘If I’m given a clean shot, and I’m allowed to bring it up, and a rule comes up, and I’m allowed to have my amendment, and let’s say we lose that 218 to 216, would I then vote for health care? Yeah, if it’s a good bill , I would, because I want health care, and as long as I had a shot to vote my conscience, then I would feel comfortable. I’ve done all I could as one member to protect the sanctity of life.

PICKET: Then how come you didn’t vote for Pence’s amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood back in 2009?

STUPAK: I don’t think I ever voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does not do abortions…in my district. Planned Parenthood has a number of clinics in my district that provide health care for my people. Therefore, these clinics do quite well in my district, and I’m all for health care and extending it to everybody—access to health care, so that’s just another way. Also on Planned Parenthood , when they do it, there is a segregation of funds that go with it. It’s usually about four hundred million they tried to de-fund on Planned Parenthood. Maybe this time, I’ll look at it again if Pence brings it up. Maybe I’ll vote differently this time, but you’re right I did vote against it.

 At least two Planned Parenthood clinics exist in Mr. Stupak’s district. One is located in Petoskey and the other in Marquette. The services offered at each clinic are listed as follows:

In Marquette:

Abortion Referral
Birth Control Services
Emergency Contraception
General Health Care
Men’s Health Services
Women’s Health Services
STD Testing & Treatment
Patient Education
Pregnancy Testing, Options & Services

    In Petoskey:

    Abortion Referral
    Birth Control Services
    Emergency Contraception
    General Health Care
    HIV Testing
    Men’s Health Services
    Patient Education
    Pregnancy Testing, Options & Services
    STD Testing & Treatment
    Women’s Health Services

    Mr. Stupak seems to toe the line, given both of these clinics include abortion referral services. If he wanted to protect the sanctity of life, why agree to continue funding clinics that recommend places for women to have abortions? Planned Parenthood describes this referral service:

    Planned Parenthood health centers in communities around the country offer you the health care you need. Our caring and knowledgeable staff provide a wide range of services — including abortion services. Health centers that do not provide abortion services provide abortion referrals.

    It is unfortunate that Mr. Stupak is okay with this, but it is not surprising. He can say he is supportive of these clinics or the health reform act in the name of “access to health care,” because as far as he is concerned, his conscience is clear.