When the heat became most intense on Sunday, Bart Stupak locked the doors of his congressional offices and didn’t answer phone calls. He emerged with the promise of an Executive Order from President Obama, that he claimed would prevent federal funding of abortion.
Congressman Stupak had to know that promise was worthless. Planned Parenthood—whose boss Cecile Richards proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare a “victory!”—surely knows that promise is worthless. She attended the signing ceremony in the White House for ObamaCare. She is “celebrating” this cash windfall.
An Executive Order surely cannot override a legislative enactment. Numerous courts have already spoken on this point. Unless a congressional enactment specifically bans abortion, it will be funded. That was the whole point of the Hyde Amendment. It was, we all knew, the whole point of the Stupak Amendment.
Stupak based his vote for ObamaCare on a “pro-life” Executive Order from a President who has never signed anything truly pro-life. Every act of his new administration has been pro-abortion. Every appointee named and confirmed has been pro-abortion. The only pro-life person ever tapped by President Obama was Rick Warren—and he was gone by 1 pm on Inauguration Day. Every other statement of this administration has been pro-abortion.
How unspeakably tragic for Bart Stupak! He will be known for this and only for this. Nothing he has ever done will change this. As the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker memorably said: “When all the power of the moment was in his frail human hands, he dropped the baby.”
The best response to Stupak’s fall might come from John Greenleaf Whittier. The New England poet wrote in anguish when his hero Daniel Webster voted to permit slave-catchers to stalk the streets of Boston:
Revile him not, the Tempter hath
A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
Befit his fall!
There will be no signing ceremony for that worthless Executive Order. No photographs. No celebrations. No souvenir signing pens. It is not so only a dead letter; it is a death letter. Bart Stupak’s betrayal has earned him nothing but sorrow and pitying tears.