Joseph Bottum writing in Bad Medicine grieves:
…….I was utterly mistaken. I did warn that Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats in the House are, after all, people who have always favored health-care reform—and they were going to vote for the Democratic program if they possibly could. But after Stupak stood firm during the debates over the House version of the bill, forcing his amendment through even while enduring the fury of what seemed like every mainstream editorial page in the nation, I thought he would not desert the pro-life organizations when it came down to a vote on the Senate’s version. But desert he did. Praise Bart Stupak now, I demanded—and, like many other pro-lifers, I was left with nothing to show for it.
Bottum writes of arguments that were used to give cover to the Democrats who call themselves pro-life, from Harry Reid and Bob Casey in the Senate to Bart Stupak in the House.
The first was the claim that, through its complicated payment procedures, the Senate bill ensured that the government portion of the new insurance program wouldn’t actually fund abortions. The second was that nationalizing the health-care system would result in a net drop in the number of abortions performed. And the third was that an executive order from the president would ensure that abortion funding would not follow from the new bill.
Meanwhile, the desertions of Harry Reid and Bob Casey and Bart Stupak mean that the pro-life cause must look entirely to the Republicans for leadership. Oh, they may pick up a few Democratic votes along the way for pro-life measures, but we now know that those Democrats will not take the lead in a pro-life fight. This is a bad result for the pro-life movement—in part because the Republican party platform is not a unified whole: People can oppose abortion while rejecting all the rest. But it’s also bad for the pro-lifers because it weakens the leverage they have within the Republican party.