Health Care Bill Passes Congress after Last-Minute Stupak Flip-Flop
By John Jalsevac, WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Sunday evening the U.S. Congress voted to approve the Democrats’ pro-abortion health care reform bill in a 219-212 vote. The bill edged through the House after Rep. Bart Stupak announced earlier this afternoon that he and his fellow group of Democrats who had been holding out for language banning abortion funding, had struck a deal with the White House. That deal involved the promise of an executive order from Obama that Stupak said would uphold the Hyde amendment in health care reform, and prevent abortion funding.
The group of Democrats led by Stupak then promised to throw their weight behind the bill, pushing it past the 216 vote threshold that it needed to become law.
The executive order deal, however, has been unanimously condemned by pro-life advocates, including the National Right to Life Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as woefully inadequate.
NRLC released a statement Sunday afternoon, following Stupak’s shock announcement that he would vote for the bill, in which they said, “The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says.”
The USCCB agreed with the assessment of NRLC, pointing out that “only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem (abortion funding) in the legislation.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, announced this evening that her organization would be stripping Rep. Stupak of the “Defender of Life” award, which they had intended to present him with this coming Wednesday at their annual gala.
“Let me be clear,” she said, “any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this healthcare bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.’”
Dannenfelser pointed out, as evidence of the executive order’s inadequacy for protecting life, the fact that pro-abortion lawmakers have welcomed the order.
On Saturday night, pro-abortion Rep. DeGette told The Huffington Post, “If there was an executive order saying they weren’t going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me.”
On Sunday, Rep. Wasserman Schultz admitted to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that “an executive order cannot change the law.”
Planned Parenthood condemned the president’s executive order, but also said that they were “grateful” that the order was not equivalent to Stupak’s original language. “So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, we are grateful that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban,” said the Planned Parenthood statement.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the vote late Sunday evening, and lambasted Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats, for their last-minute about-face.
“Some Democratic Members who have had good pro-life records in the past turned away from those principles today, instead putting their trust in the most pro-abortion President in history and his equally pro-abortion Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius,” said Perkins.
“The President knows his promise would not have the weight of statutory law and is not worth the paper it was printed on. Any order from the President will likely quickly fall in the U.S. courts, if not reversed by Barack Obama himself.
“The President’s disregard for the unborn is no surprise. It is the betrayal from those who have fought for life within his party that is the biggest shock. Especially Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) who had fought so valiantly in this debate, but folded when it really mattered.”
“We are not fooled,” said Concerned Women for America (CWA) CEO Penny Nance. “This is the biggest expansion of abortion funding since Roe v. Wade. And a flimsy promise of an executive order from the President may make it more comfortable for ‘pro-life’ Democrats like Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) to vote for the bill, but in the end, such an illusory promise is not even worth the paper on which it’s written. Backroom deals and compromises will not soften the blow of this attack on life and liberty as we know and enjoy it. Americans will not forget those Members of Congress who refused to listen to them. They will make their voices heard in November.”