EDITORIAL: Bart Stupak, coward

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Rep. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, sounded good when he held himself up as the pro-life hero standing against his party’s

juggernaut for taxpayer-funded abortion in the health care bill. But when push came to shove, the representative from the tiny Upper Peninsula town of Menominee - population 8,300 - was rolled by the big-city thugs from Chicago. Or more to the point, Mr. Stupak rolled over for them.

The last-minute negotiations over the government health care bill made one thing clear: Without Mr. Stupak and other ostensibly pro-life Democrats, the bill did not have enough votes. The final vote count was 219 to 212, and without the eight Democrats who caved to pressure with Mr. Stupak, the bill would have been defeated, 220 to 211. And make no mistake about it, these sellouts did not wean any concessions from the White House. President Obama’s much-ballyhooed executive order gave the Democrat holdouts nothing more than was already in the Senate bill.

“They’re ignoring me. That’s their strategy now,” Mr. Stupak bellyached to National Review about a week ago. “The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health care bill without us.” All that changed this weekend. By 3 p.m. on Sunday, The Hill newspaper indicated 39 Democrats were either firm or likely “no” votes and seven others were still “undecided.” With every single Republican voting no, 38 Democratic “nays” were all that were needed to stop taxpayer-funded abortion for the masses.

Democrats claimed the Senate bill won’t fund abortions because it segregates federal dollars from private spending to pay for abortions (Section 1303.b.2.c). Insurance companies are instructed to keep separate accounts for the money they receive from the federal government and funds from policy holders or the companies that employ them. Insurance policies paid by government can provide abortions so long as the insurance companies don’t use the money from the government to pay for them directly.

The whole setup is a budget gimmick. Federal cash can pay for nonabortion expenses, which frees up other insurance money to vacuum out the unborn. Since abortion fees are a small fraction of total health care expenditures by insurance companies, firms easily can cover that blood money and use federal outlays for everything else.

The segregation clause fails to cover the entire bill. In Section 1303 (see 1303.b.2.d), every American’s policy will be taxed by at least one dollar to fund elective abortions. To figure out the exact abortion tax per person, insurers must estimate “the overall costs of the inclusion of [elective abortion] coverage” and calculate “such costs as if such coverage were included for the entire population covered.”

There are no abortion restrictions on the $7 billion set aside for Community Health Centers, $6 billion in grants and loans for health co-ops and $5 billion for a temporary high-risk pool.

Mr. Stupak repeatedly chirped that the Senate language was unacceptable. On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 4, he said, “I want to see health care, but we’re not going to bypass some principles and beliefs we feel strongly about.” His office explicitly rejected the notion that Senate language was similar to his anti-abortion amendment in the House. “The congressman does not agree with [House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer’s statement that the Senate bill language and the House bill language achieve the same end with regard to federal funding of abortion,” Mr. Stupak’s press secretary told CNSNews.

Yet on Sunday, Mr. Stupak accepted the Senate language because the monstrously pro-abortion president proffered an executive order. All that executive order does is enforce the very rules in the Senate bill that Mr. Stupak said were unacceptable. In any case, an executive order can’t supersede the law. If a law stipulates that government money can fund abortions, no executive order can prevent that.

The executive order was nothing more than political cover for Democrats to mislead voters that they’re pro-life. Aside from Mr. Stupak, other House Democrats who used this excuse to aid and abet taxpayer-funded abortion are Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, Ohio’s Steve Driehaus, Ohio’s Marcy Kaptur, West Virginia’s Nick Rahall, West Virginia’s Alan Mollohan and Pennsylvania’s Kathy Dahlkemper. Separate statements of surrender were made by Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee Democrat, and Paul E. Kanjorski, Pennsylvania Democrat.

Americans need to remember these politicians’ names when they vote in November. These members are ultimately the ones who are responsible for the government forcing all taxpayers to pay for a procedure many of us consider murder.

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