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

Posted by: ST on March 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

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.

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18 Responses to “Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI): A principled pro-life Congressional Democrat”


  1. Great White Rat says:

    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,

    Yup, it’s about the money. Which is why Sarah Palin is exactly right when she talks about “death panels”.

    If this monstrosity of a bill passes, how long do you think it will take before the left-wing statists start to use the argument that denying care to the elderly or the very sick will reduce costs? Look at Pelosi’s argument:

    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.

    Replace “family planning” with “palliative care” in that sentence and you have an argument for giving people pain pills instead of curing their diseases, and for denying care to the chronically ill.

    And don’t let the liberals hand you the line that it couldn’t possibly happen. Hubert Humphrey once stood on the floor of the Senate and declared the the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not lead to affirmative action or quotas. We know how that turned out. Given power, statists will always expand it to whatever extremes they can manage.

  2. I’m sympathetic to Allahpundit’s skepticism, but I don’t know. His skepticism is based on an analysis of what would be rational from the Democrats’ perspective. I’m not at all surprised they would think this way, but given their ambition to pass this thing, he’s right it wouldn’t make sense for them to try to use that point to persuade Stupak or even admit to him that’s how they think. Your point about liberals saying things like this all along is well taken, but given the current situation and their current goals, it’s pretty irrational. On the other hand, it’s probably unwise to attribute too much rationality to characters like Henry Waxman.

  3. Tex says:

    Pelosi’s statement to Stephanopoulos:

    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.

    My God! The woman must have fried her brain on mushrooms AND/OR she slipped through to our universe from some alternate universe AND/OR she suffers from pathological liar syndrome! :o

  4. Carlos says:

    So, it’s the government’s responsibility to steal my money to pay for somebody’s abortion because they’re too stupid to know what causes babies to begin with, or to stupid to use precautions beforehand?

    People have a right to be stupid, but that’s not a god-given, constitutional right that has to be forced upon the rest of us. Funding for their stupidity is theft, pure and simple, and the women who use my stolen money may not be crying all the way to the bank but I know the baby killers are laughing all the way.

  5. Bob G says:

    This is all just political theater. Stupak’s vaunted scruples do not extend to being against paying off big campaign contributors (unions, public employees) by exempting them from taxes and making the rest of us pay their bills. His scruples don’t extend to the senatorial pay offs; letting some states pay for others under the bills; or the unconstitutional requirement to buy health insurance. I really believe that Stupak and the other honest pols realized that they should be included in the rewards for pretending to be against the bill. When his price is met, he will discover he really didn’t care that much about abortion after all.

  6. Paul says:

    Spend, spend, spend until the golden goose dies of exhaustion! We are on the rate to becoing a second world nation if something doesn’t change. Our government is a voracious monolith that sucks the marrow from the people’s bones.

  7. Paul says:

    Excuse typos-I am a terrible typist…:)

  8. John Burton says:

    Stupak, and many others, seem deeply confused about the health care bills. There is no funding for abortions in the bills. Maybe this will give you a better understanding on how health care reform can actually reduce the number of abortions.


  9. Indeed the idea of justifying abortion on the basis that it somehow saves money is Orwellian, that or Brave New Worldish, choose your negative utopian analogy.

    Unfortunately, I’ve also heard some conservatives justify the death penalty with the same logic; that it’s cheaper to execute someone than keep them in prison for another x number of years.

    That said, you hear a lot of the former these days and not much of the latter. There were 1.37 million abortions in the U.S. each year, and 52 executions. The death penalty is on it’s way out, but the abortion industry grinds on.

    Either way, it’s wrong.

  10. Um, no John – it’s you who are confused. Your opinion piece, which contains data that is highly suspect BTW, asserts that “universal health care” causes the abortion rate to go down, not that there is “no funding” in ObamaCare for abortion.

    Nice try, though.

  11. Carlos says:

    The leftists so enamored of our man-child president have been complaining for months that we on the right have been “mischaracterizing” the “health care” bill (a misnomer if ever there was one), but that’s simply another case of projection.

    Obviously, since the bill can’t stand on its own merits, the leftists (like Mr. Burton above) are mischaracterizing what the bill will and won’t do, when in fact the sole purpose of the entire piece of slime is for the government to take control of that entire segment of our economy.

    They just don’t have the stones to stand up and tell the truth, so they obfuscate, pandering to the fears of the masses, and hope no one will notice their naked power grab.

    Does the health care delivery system need an overhaul? of course it does. But having a government (whose track record of successfully running anything anywhere except into the ground and into horrendous debt) take over ANY business, large or small, just doesn’t make a lick of sense to anyone but the willingly blind or wickedly cunning.

  12. Great White Rat says:

    John Burton bleats:

    There is no funding for abortions in the bills.

    Then you and Speaker Pelosi disagree. You might try re-reading her quote above, then get back to us.

    Besides that, the opinion piece you cite does a miserable job of defending its thesis, which is that federal takeover of health care will reduce abortions. And the reason is – don’t laugh – that once the government is in charge of our health care, the costs will be controlled so much better:

    One key reason seems to be that all those countries provide health care for everybody at a reasonable cost.

    (Dammit Carlos, I asked you not to laugh!) :)

    Sure. Because we all know the government does such a fantabulous job of controlling the costs of Medicare. And Social Security. And the subprime mortgage market. And every other scheme the left has foisted on us over the past decades.

    If the author’s blind faith in efficient and benevolent bureaucracies were not warning signs enough of a mind disconnected from reality, he ignores several other factors that bear on the issue:

    First, it is an economic axiom that if you give something away for free, demand for it grows. Having the Feds run the local Planned Parenthood clinic is not going to cause people to suddenly refrain from abortions. Look at last year’s Cash for Clunkers plan. Government subsidies for buying cars caused an massive uptick in purchases. Only a liberal would have been surprised. And predictably, they were.

    Second, his comparison of abortion rates with other countries ignores demographic differences. For example, the abortion rate among African-Americans is extremely high and skews the statistics. Factors like that do not affect countries with less diverse populations.

    There are other fallacies here, but you get my drift. Anyway, thanks for playing, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you on the way back to your own planet….

  13. Carlos says:

    GWR, I would’ve replied half an hour ago but I couldn’t get up off the floor for laughing so hard. But thanks.

    The one thing the government does best is the military, but even it is subject to massive wastes and massive screw-ups.

    And government operation of ANYTHING goes downhill from there at lightspeed. If there wasn’t jail time involved I probably wouldn’t pay my taxes, not because I don’t like paying taxes but because I know 90% of what I pay goes to massive fraud, theft by deception and just pure theft, mostly by bureaucrats that feel their jobs are an entitlement and we regular citizens are more of a pain in the patootie than anything else (besides a cash cow).

    The other 10%? Uhhh, who knows? But I do know the Ponzi schemes known as Social Security and Medicare are going to come crashing down on EVERYONE’S head in the not-too-distant future because no one in Congress has the stones to stand up and call previous congresses and bureaucrats thieves and liars.

    And at that point, my fear isn’t that the country can’t recover, but that some smooth-talking sleezebucket, say from Chicago or somewhere, will sing siren songs into the ears of gullible voters incapable of figuring out they’re in the process of getting screwed again, and will take over the government lock, stock and fish-tail and make Duh-1 look like a piker. Fearful people do crazy things.

  14. Carlos says:

    Oh, a final comment here, GWR: a “reasonable cost” to me is probably not the same as “a reasonable cost” is to you, and I know darned good and well a “reasonable cost” to me ain’t even in the same universe as it is to the one who wishes to steal my money to pay for his pipe dream, let alone Mr. Burton.

    Bottom line is, it’s always been easier to spend someone else’ money than one’s own, and our elected representatives in both houses of Congress are getting to be masters of it. After they steal it to begin with.

  15. Bachbone says:

    Rep. Stupak assured me that he would not vote for the House Bill, too, but he found “reasons” to flip-flop and voted for it at the last moment. (I told him the Senate would screw him, or if it didn’t Obama & Co. would. I reminded him, once again, of my warning a few days ago.) Stupak has a 90% ADA voting record. His mailings to constituents are filled with references to complaints from “employers” who notify him they can’t afford higher health insurance bills. In the end, if Pelosi needs his vote, he will flip-flop again and support her, then claim he was lied to, brainwashed, hornswoggled or whatever he needs to say to justify the flip-flop. He’s a leftist first and foremost, not a pro-lifer first and foremost.