Monday, March 22, 2010

Stupak Sells Out for a Fig Leaf: Pray for His Soul

"Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul
for the whole world
. . . but for Wales?"
A Man for All Seasons

So the health care reform passes by 4 votes and crucial to its passage was the vote of Bart Stupak and most of his fellow (so-called) pro-life Democrats. It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for a lousy Executive Order?

If this Executive Order really did anything significant we would not be reading the following words in the press release from Planned Parenthood this morning:
“As a result of this historic expansion of health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans, the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who work for Planned Parenthood health centers will be providing care to many more women, men, and families who will be seeking primary and preventive care.

“Planned Parenthood is also extremely pleased that members of the House listened to the millions of women and men who expressed their strong opposition to the Stupak abortion ban. Stopping the Stupak ban was a high priority for women across the country who rejected the notion that they would not be able to even use their own money to obtain private insurance coverage for abortion. It was a tough fight, but we salute Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D- CA), Congressman Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) , members of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, and all others who stood up for women’s health and women’s rights.

“Nonetheless, we regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, it is critically important to note that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban."

Within hours of yesterday's announcement of support for the bill by Stupak, the Susan B. Anthony List responded by stripping Stupak of the "Defender of Life Award" he was to have received at a gala planned for Wednesday of the coming week.

John McCormack, at The Weekly Standard, has a round-up of reactions from pro-life and pro-abortion groups to the Stupak vote. The National Right to Life Association and the USCCB both say it is useless and NOW and Planned Parenthood agree. McCormack's wry comment is that only Stupak has managed to forge bipartisan agreement on something in this whole mess.

Is this the end of Democrats winning key votes for election in conservative districts by taking a pro-life position? Donald McClary at American Catholic thinks so.

"What all of this means is that for now the pro-life effort in the Democrat party has failed. Congressmen and women who are Democrats and called themselves pro-life have been mostly revealed to be completely unreliable when their votes mattered. I say this not to attack rank and file pro-lifers who have been involved in an uphill effort to keep the pro-life cause alive in the Democrat party, but merely to admit the obvious. I have written quite a bit on this blog in praise of Bart Stupak and I now regret every word. Whatever is in his heart, when it truly mattered he was a profile in political expediency. The same can be said for most of the other Democrats in Congress who call themselves pro-life. They proved themselves very weak reeds indeed. For pro-lifers the Republican party is the only game in town for meaningful pro-life legislation. This will be distasteful for pro-lifers who hate the Republican party only a little less than they love the unborn, but that is the simple truth. For people who wish to continue the effort to spread the pro-life message in the Democrat party, may you have success. I expect that you will fail, and in future I will assume that all elected pro-life Democrats are being mendacious until they prove otherwise by hard votes. Learning is sometimes a tough experience, but it is usually also a beneficial one, and that is what I learned from last night."

All the posturing and play-acting that went on in the past week was probably just an attempt to try and hide the truth McClary is stating. Likely Stupak told Obama and Pelosi that we would cave in before they set the date for the vote and starting proclaiming that they knew they had the votes. Everybody thought they were blowing smoke because everybody thought Stupak meant what he said. While Stupak was burnishing his re-election chances, Pelosi knew she had his vote in the bag.

It is telling that once enough votes were cast to pass the measure, certain representatives in pro-life districts apparently received permission to vote against the bill in order to heighten their chances of re-election. The pro-life voters who voted for them should ponder the implications of the word "permission" in the previous sentence. The Democrats did something highly unpopular and they knew it was unpopular. They still think they will get away with it. We shall see.

In closing, I just want to highlight one pro-life Democrat who did not cave in. Nurse and pro-life blogger, Jill Stanek, notes:

"The only pro-life Democrat to change his vote from a yes to a no due to the failure to include the Stupak-Pitts amendment was Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) . . . (Lipinski is the congressman for the district in which Christ Hospital, my former employer, is located. His father, Congressman Bill Lipinski, was a co-sponsor of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.)

The only logical thing for Dan Lipinski to do now is to switch parties.


Josh Bailey said...

As a Christian, do you have anything good to say about the health care bill, or do you really think it's primary effect will be to increase the ease of acquiring abortions?

It stands to reason that, in the worst case scenario, even if some government funds found their ways into the pockets of abortion clinics, this would not directly increase the number of abortions. If you were a pregnant mother-to-be, and if finances were the primary factor in your giving birth to a child or aborting it, even sans coverage a child is still more expensive than an abortion. Who would be swayed toward abortion because of the coverage of their health care policy, who otherwise wouldn't? Time will tell, but I cannot see from this point why abortions would increase as a result of this bill.

On the other hand, it seems that accessible pre- and post-natal care would in fact incentivise the choice for life of the average mother to be, as Mr. Stupak wisely commented last night.

It seems that your hard line opposition to this bill is rather a practice in keeping the tax-payer's dollars 'clean' (as if such a thing were possible), instead of actually being concerned with saving the lives of unborn infants.

Craig Carter said...

You are arguing against yourself. First, you say that denying government funding of abortion would not persuade a woman not to have an abortion if finances were her main concern because having a child is still much more expensive than having an abortion.

Then, you turn around and say that having "accessible" pre and post natal care WOULD persuade a woman for whom finances were her main concern to have an abortion. {Of course, poor women already have access to pre and post natal care. This bill is primarily an entitlement for the middle class.)

This is a totally incoherent argument. If money could sway the decision one way, it could sway it the other way. You want to have your cake and eat it too.

In reality, this argument is irrelevant to the principle at stake. Yes, I do believe that keeping one's hands clean of innocent blood is a big deal, just like Scripture does.

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden he face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. . . Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood... The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. (Isa.59:2-8)

My concern is with the judgment that must inevitably fall on any nation that flaunts the will of God so flagrantly. The blood of Canada and the US is on our hands and we will perish in judgment. The only hope is the forgiveness offered on the basis of the cross.

Craig Carter said...

No, I don't have anything good to say about this bill. It pushes the US quite far in the direction of becoming a European style social democracy and Europe is literally dying under that form of government. Obama seems bent on driving up the deficit so high that a debt crisis is created that will allow for sky-high taxes, the dismantling of US military capability, and the further intrusion of the State into the lives of individuals and families until something like Huxley's Brave New World is achieved.

Speaking as a Canadian living in a country on the verge of the great euthanasia debate, my opinion is that Americans won't realize what they had until it is gone.