Kathryn Lopez

There, Casey said: "And so, it is for me the bitterest of ironies that abortion on demand found refuge, found a home -- and it pains me to say this -- found a home in the national Democratic Party. My party, the part of the weak, the party of the powerless."

Casey continued: "You see, to me, protecting the unborn child follows naturally from everything I know about my party and about my country. Nothing could be more foreign to the American experience than legalized abortion. It is inconsistent with our national character, with our national purpose, with all that we've done, and with everything we hope to be."

Our current president, who claims to be all about hope, visited that same school and tried to wash the words of Casey out of our political memories. But he can't. Bart Stupak won't let him.

Not much has changed in the decade since Casey died. "We're members without a party," Stupak told the New York Times, speaking of pro-life Democrats. When he was a freshman in the House, he requested a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He told the paper that "I had one or two members tell me I'd never get on because I'm right-to-life."

During the endgame negotiations over the health-care bill, Stupak said that some in his party have been telling him: "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." Money's how they think they can win his conscience? As he said, "This is life we're talking about." The party has its problems, but like Casey, Stupak has a clear conscience. He's a witness, though we may differ drastically on many issues, the doughty congressman from Michigan deserves thanks and praise for standing up to his party for the most basic human right.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.