Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) retirement yesterday made him the first political casualty of the historic health care vote last month. His capitulation on the abortion issue, which made possible the Democrats' force feeding of Obamacare to the American people, will go down as one of the great betrayals of principle in modern American politics. His strident attacks on his former allies in the pro-life community are pathetic and despicable. His political career benefited from their support, and his stand on the abortion funding issue made him a household name. He deserves the enmity of the people he strung along for so long.
The debate on Obamacare has largely centered around the Democrats committing political suicide to enact it. I'm not surprised; this was less about health care, a fact more of us are learning every day, and more about expanding government control over our lives and decisions. This bill is full of mandates, taxes and restrictions, and does nothing to control costs or increase the availability or quality of care.
There's one discussion topic I haven't seen, however, and Rep. Stupak's retirement spurred me to address it.
The Democrats had an opportunity to enact a fundamental transformation of the American health care system, and one would surmise this bill represented the crown jewel of liberalism, the Holy Grail that liberals prize above all else.
And you'd almost be right.
If the Democrats wanted universal, government-controlled health care above all else, they would have long ago accepted the language in the House version of the health bill that expressly prohibits federal funding of abortions.
The truth is they were willing to risk their best chance in decades to enact the lodestone of their liberal agenda, all because they place a higher priority on a woman's choice to kill her own baby if she desires.
As Rep. Stupak and his coalition of alleged pro-life Democrats - a category of politician that's officially an endangered species - held out for guarantees in the legislation to prevent federal dollars from being spent on abortion services, a sickening drama was playing out between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the pro-abortion women's caucus in the House.
The members of the caucus were swarming around the House Majority Whip, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Speaker Pelosi like angry bees, insisting they would kill the bill without a single thought if the tougher language authored by Rep. Stupak and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), prohibiting government funding of abortion, was included in the bill.
I found their opposition revolting, to be honest with you. Some would argue that men are capable of understanding the abortion issues only in the abstract because they can't get pregnant and, therefore, can't grasp the realities of an unplanned pregnancy. Because of this, I always thought women were less strident on the issue than men.
I should've known better. After all, the most virulent attacks on Sarah Palin's pro-life stance came from women. Her personal decision not to abort her Down Syndrome baby, unlike 90 percent of other woman in similar circumstances, led to some cruel commentary about mother and child from women threatened by her selflessness.
This gang of militants was determined that, if Stupak and crew got their way, they would submarine the health care bill, perhaps dooming the signature goal of American statists for years to come.
To me, that's noteworthy; even the first installment on a permanent restructuring of the relationship between Americans and their government wasn't as important to them as ensuring abortion remained eligible for federal funds.
Incidentally, don't deceive yourself into thinking President Obama's executive order has any teeth when it comes to preventing federal funds from ever being used to pay for abortion services. The pro-abortion groups themselves dismissed the executive order as window dressing. This was an exercise in political cover in which they underestimated the discernment of the American people.
The executive order has no foundation in law to sustain it, and no advocates in the current administration to enforce it. This was a sham; the pro-abortion groups know it, the pro-life community knows it and, in the early hours of the day when he's alone with his thoughts, Bart Stupak knows it, too.
Ultimately, the Democrats' obsession with being the party of abortion brought them to the precipice of scuttling one of liberalism's biggest goals, and the biggest agenda item of the new President's term to date.
Rail against the health care bill if you must - and we must - but consider how the issue of abortion has totally consumed the Democratic Party.
I can almost predict someone protesting my characterization of the Democratic Party as "pro-abortion," bleating about how they want to make abortion safe, legal and rare, and how they're really for personal choice, whatever that choice may be. To that I say, balderdash.
The same party that wants to restrict and regulate our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms to the point of irrelevance, citing the potential of guns to be used in acts of violence against another human being, will fight and claw like a trapped wolverine to prevent any restriction or regulation on abortion, a guaranteed act of violence against a mother and her unborn child.
Parental notification? Fine if it applies to the school nurse giving medicine to your sick child, but not if she wants an abortion, which is slightly more invasive than swallowing an aspirin. Full disclosure? Only about the abortion procedure itself, alternatives like adoption be damned. Mandatory ultrasounds and waiting periods so the mother fully grasps the gravity of her decision? No way; she might see a beating heart, arms and legs, torso and head and mistake it for a human being.
Celebrate Pam Tebow's choice to have her child despite a doctor's advice to abort, resulting in her son Tim, the most celebrated college football player of our generation and an impressive human being? No; "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning" is how they choose to characterize her decision to share her testimony with the world.
I've already mentioned how they attacked Sarah Palin's decision to bring her son Trig into the world. The Democrats go after prominent pro-life women with the same intensity reserved for rapists and wife beaters.
Do these sound like "pro-choice" people to you?
Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist for the Washington Post, a feminist and a proclaimed pro-choice advocate, said of these strident women's groups, "They aren't actually 'pro-choice' so much as they are pro-abortion."
Precisely my point. Spare me the tepid defense that they're anything but sold out, locked down, unrepentant abortion advocates who, like their pro-abortion President, don't want women to be "punished with a baby."
Of all the high-minded principles around which to rally a political party, the right to kill your unborn child seems grotesquely out of place.
Unalienable rights, those accorded to everyone by virtue of their humanity, and which place obligations on no one save that of non-interference, honor our dignity and worth as individuals.
Not so the killing of unborn children, the "right" so controversial that its proponents dare not speak its name, instead coining euphemisms like "reproductive rights," "preventive services," or "right to choose."
Exercising this right results in the ultimate infringement upon another human being, the taking of their life.
Regrettably for Bart Stupak, his esteemed record as a defender of unborn life is forever forgotten. He will always be remembered as the man who compromised his pro-life principles because he believed more in government-controlled health care. His pro-abortion adversaries would never have done the same, because they believe in something else altogether.