Pro-life Democrats, R.I.P.
In the Wall Street Journal, Bill McGurn writes that "Bart Stupak's vote for the health bill shows that in the end you can't count on prolife Democrats":
And then there were none.
When Bart Stupak announced Sunday he was now a "yes" on the health-care bill, six Democrats stood with him. Even that handful would have been enough to defeat the bill. Instead, they accepted the fig leaf of an executive order—and threw away all the hard-won gains they had made.
Amid the recriminations it's easy to overlook what Mr. Stupak had cobbled together. His amendment restricting federal funding for abortions, passed in November, marked the only bipartisan vote in this whole health-care mess. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, pro-life Democrats had seized the legislative initiative in the teeth of their leadership's opposition—and brought the party of abortion to heel.
Now Mr. Stupak has thrown it away. By caving at the last hour, he discredited all who stood with him. (What does it say about Ohio's Marcy Kaptur and Pennsylvania's Chris Carney that they had already agreed to vote yes even before the fig leaf of the executive order had come through?) In addition to undermining an encouraging partnership with pro-lifers across the congressional aisle, Mr. Stupak signaled that, in the end, you can't count on pro-life Democrats.
"The peer pressure to be part of the team can be overwhelming," says Chris Smith, a pro-life GOP congressman from New Jersey. "But sometimes it's absolutely necessary, regardless of the cost, to bend into the wind, unmovable, committed to what your heart, mind and conscience know to be right."
"For so long, Bart did that. Then he was like a runner who stopped a hundred feet before the finish line. It's a sad day for the unborn, a sad day for their mothers, and a serious setback for the culture of life."
[Read the whole thing]
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Stupak Sells Out ... [UPDATED]