Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI): A principled pro-life Congressional Democrat

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There aren’t many of them left these days, so when one steps up to the plate I think they should be acknowledged and praised. National Review Online’s Robert Costa did a phone interview with Stupak today as the Congressman waited at the airport to return home to Michigan, and he passed along some “inside baseball” info on how negotiations are going in the House between the pro-abortion Democrats and the pro-life Democrats (aka “the Stupak 12”). It’s not pretty:

Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”

According to Stupak, that group of twelve pro-life House Democrats — the “Stupak dozen” — has privately agreed for months to vote ‘no’ on the Senate’s health-care bill if federal funding for abortion is included in the final legislative language. Now, in the debate’s final hours, Stupak says the other eleven are coming under “enormous” political pressure from both the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). “I am a definite ‘no’ vote,” he says. “I didn’t cave. The others are having both of their arms twisted, and we’re all getting pounded by our traditional Democratic supporters, like unions.”

[…]

Stupak notes that his negotiations with House Democratic leaders in recent days have been revealing. “I really believe that the Democratic leadership is simply unwilling to change its stance,” he says. “Their position says that women, especially those without means available, should have their abortions covered.” The arguments they have made to him in recent deliberations, he adds, “are a pretty sad commentary on the state of the Democratic party.”

What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

If Obamacare passes, Stupak says, it could signal the end of any meaningful role for pro-life Democrats within their own party. “It would be very, very hard for someone who is a right-to-life Democrat to run for office,” he says. “I won’t leave the party. I’m more comfortable here and still believe in a role within it for the right-to-life cause, but this bill will make being a pro-life Democrat much more difficult. They don’t even want to debate this issue. We’ll probably have to wait until the Republicans take back the majority to fix this.”

[…]

And the politics of the issue are pretty rough. “This has really reached an unhealthy stage,” Stupak says. “People are threatening ethics complaints on me. On the left, they’re really stepping it up. Every day, from Rachel Maddow to the Daily Kos, it keeps coming. Does it bother me? Sure. Does it change my position? No.”

And props to him for standing firm in the face of all that blistering heat he’s feeling from The Usual pro-abortion Suspects on the left, with whom abortion is their “call to arms” issue.

Regarding his assertion regarding what was allegedly said to him about the cost-saving “benefit” of the government funding abortions, AllahPundit is skeptical and part of the reason why is that he doesn’t want to believe it’s true that someone would say that:

I don’t quite believe it, although that’s partly because I don’t want to believe it. It’s the abortion equivalent of death panels, essentially. It’s so sinister, and so perfectly matches the most ogrish caricatures of the pro-choice left, that it’s almost too bad to check. It’d be like Ron Paul claiming that pro-war Republicans told him to vote for Iraq because they were dying to get their hands on all that oil. They simply can’t be this cold-blooded.

Are you kidding me?? I can’t think of an abortion debate I’ve been in where a pro-abortion advocate hasn’t brought up the cost issue. It goes something like: “Well, as a fiscal conservative, you should support ways to cut costs and providing abortions is one of them.” Another one, usually delivered with a lot more bite, is: “You can’t have it both ways. You don’t support welfare but if you continue to be anti-abortion and your beliefs on it translate into policy, that means a lot more babies are going to be born and will be dependent on the government.” Not only that, but how often have we all heard the justifications by the pro-sex ed crowd that it’s important for young women and men in school in order to “prevent unintended pregnancies” that wouldn’t just affect them financially but the taxpayers, too? Nancy Pelosi made a similar argument – although a lot more cleverly – last January in an interview with former Clintonista George Stephanopoulos on the issue of “family planning” funding being a part of the stimulus bill:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, some of the initiatives you just mentioned. what the economists have told us from right to left. There is more bang for the buck, a term they use, by investing in food stamps and in unemployment insurance than in any tax cut.

Guess what? “Family planning services” includes abortion services.

A random site found via Google, the National Abortion Federation, talks about the money issue behind abortions:

The Costs of Denying Abortion Funding

When women are denied abortions that they seek because their insurance or Medicaid plans do not cover them, there are both real and hidden costs that they, their families, and other taxpayers must bear. There is also the social cost associated with forcing some women to bear children when they are not prepared to be mothers or when parents are unable to support their children.

For example, many of the women who are denied funding for abortion have one anyway, usually at great sacrifice to themselves and their families. They may take on extra work or borrow from their rent or grocery budgets. Sometimes, because it takes time to find the money, the woman has to obtain the abortion at a later stage of pregnancy, when the procedure is more expensive and more complicated.4

Some women without money to pay for an abortion attempt to induce one themselves. This usually fails, resulting in delays before seeking surgical abortion. Self-induced abortion attempts are often medically very dangerous, leading to serious complications or death.

Those who oppose public funding for abortion call it an unfair burden on taxpayers. In fact, funding restrictions on abortions cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year, due to the much higher cost of prenatal care and childbirth, and the secondary costs of unplanned births.4 Families also pay a high price whenever a woman must carry an unwanted pregnancy to term because she is unable to pay for abortion services.

Check out this 1978 newspaper piece quoting a Miami professor who testified before the Florida House that abortions “saves money.” These types of arguments have been around for a while now.

Many pro-abortionists often talk about the “financial burden” having a baby may put on the mother, but they also imply a financial burden to the state as well, because if the woman has difficulty paying for the child’s basic needs, the first place she’s likely to turn is the state. Heck, I used to make this same argument when I supported a woman’s “right to choose.”

Yes – statements like “abortions save money” should be considered controversial but at this stage of the game it’s only conservatives and pro-life Democrats who raise the alarm bells when they hear rationale like that being used by abortion supporters in order to try and justify their positions. And the comments aren’t just made behind closed doors but out in the open, and yet sadly, no one blinks an eye.

Yet these same folks who won’t blink an eye when it comes to the issue of abortion being used as a “cost-cutting” measure will raise the roof when someone suggestsnot promotes or condones, mind you – that aborting every black baby would cut down on the crime rate.  Same same with the gay pro-abortion advocate who believes that it’s disgusting to think that people would abort a baby on the basis of a “gay gene.” And the pro-abortion rights women’s group that opposes sex-selective abortions in China.   It’s “outrageous,” they will all assert, to abort a baby for those reasons. But what they refuse to admit is this: if you support abortion for convenience purposes you support them under any rationale, no matter how bigoted. As I’ve written before:

Wanna see a pro-abortion liberal’s head spin? Try suggesting this: By being against aborting a baby based on the possibility that that baby has a “gay gene” yet at the same time being in favor of a woman getting an abortion for convenience’s sake, they’re breaking their own “standards” on equality, because they’re saying that one type of baby is worth saving, while the other is not.

In closing, fear of a “gay” fetus genocide of sorts is completely understandable. But the inconsistency of the liberal position on this aspect of the issue is worth pointing out. If you don’t support abortions for women who would choose to terminate their pregnancy based solely on a “gay gene” then you shouldn’t support it just for convenience’s sake, either. After all, that innocent “gay” baby is no more a “parasite” on his/her mother than that innocent baby that a woman doesn’t want just because it would interfere with her social life.

I only wish that the same folks would get just as outraged over the suggestion that abortion saves money as they did about abortions based on race, sex, or sexual orientation. But they don’t. Instead, they’re the ones making the arguments.

So no, I’m not “shocked” that a House Democrat would suggest that abortions save money because he or she believes they cut down on the numbers of mouths to feed/clothe/take care of in this country. They’ve been saying this for decades. What I’m shocked about is that, close to 40 years since Roe v. Wade made abortions “legal” in America, more average Americans aren’t outraged when they hear such arguments.

So, like when will David Brooks officially be on the Obama payroll?

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Seriously. When was the last time the left’s/NYT’s favorite “Republican” columnist was even remotely tough on our celebrity President? This column just doesn’t cut it:

You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable. Political partisans always imagine the other side is ruthlessly effective and that the public would be with them if only their side had better messaging. And finally, you’ll notice that both views distort reality. They tell you more about the information cocoons that partisans live in these days than about Obama himself.

The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy — from his book “The Audacity of Hope” to his joint-session health care speech last September — he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.

He has tried to find this balance in a town without an organized center — in a town in which liberals chair the main committees and small-government conservatives lead the opposition. He has tried to do it in a context maximally inhospitable to his aims.

But he has done it with tremendous tenacity. Readers of this column know that I’ve been critical on health care and other matters. Obama is four clicks to my left on most issues. He is inadequate on the greatest moral challenge of our day: the $9.7 trillion in new debt being created this decade. He has misread the country, imagining a hunger for federal activism that doesn’t exist. But he is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington.

Liberals are wrong to call him weak and indecisive. He’s just not always pursuing their aims. Conservatives are wrong to call him a big-government liberal. That’s just not a fair reading of his agenda.

Translation: If he had been then-Senator Barack Obama rubbing his hand up his inner thigh at some long ago luncheon and not some still-not-named Republican Senator, Brooks would have never ‘joked’ about it or revealed it – because he would have liked it.

The nauseating bromance continues. And I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I really can’t even attempt to take this guy – or anything he says – seriously anymore.