Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) gave Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) a kiss on the cheek on Sunday, just before Stupak stunned pro-lifers by leading his group of previous holdouts in voting for the largest expansion of abortion-on-demand since Roe v. Wade. That’s what the just-signed ObamaCare bill means.
Stupak, of course, was the author of the Stupak Amendment that passed the House in November with 240 votes, 64 of them coming from pro-life Democrats like Stupak himself. Weiner is one of the most liberal—and most pro-abortion—members of a militantly pro-abortion congressional majority. Weiner had good reason to give Stupak that kiss of death.
Stupak, a nine-term, pro-labor congressman from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, had come to prominence only last November. That was the dramatic moment when he offered his amendment to the House version of health care reform. As Stupak himself explained hundreds of times, only his language could really erect a firewall between the U.S. Treasury and Planned Parenthood’s killing machine.
Only with the protections of the Stupak Amendment, every pro-lifer understood, would the deeply held convictions of tens of millions of Americans be honored. Nearly 70% of Americans oppose being forced to pay for the slaughter of innocents with their tax dollars.
It is most likely that health care would never have passed the House the first time without the Stupak Amendment. But the Senate version of the Stupak Amendment went down to defeat, 45-55.
Scott Brown’s amazing election in Massachusetts made sure that the only the version of health care reform that could be taken up by the House of Representatives would be the bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve, before Brown’s special election. That Senate-passed bill, everyone knew, contained no protections against the funding of abortion.
In the heat of legislative battle, Stupak came under tremendous pressures. From the Speaker, from the White House, from his fellow Democrats, from the Left generally, from the liberal media. He described the death threats and vile emails and phone calls his office was receiving in January and February as “a living hell.”
Bart Stupak already knows about living hell. He lost a teenage son, Bart Jr., to suicide ten years ago. Anyone who has ever had such a loss in his family knows the deep wound that only time and God’s grace can heal. Bart Stupak’s dignity and humanity at that terrible time won him a host of admirers.