Monday, March 22, 2010

Putting the Best Construction on Stupak

As any of you who follow the news are aware, the Health Care bill was able to pass when Rep Stupak, a democrat, led a block to Pro-life Democrats to vote for the bill in exchange for the promise of an executive order keeping the Hyde Amendment in place (which prevents federal funding of abortion). This has incensed much of the pro-life crowd - one congressman even yelled out "Baby-Killer" during Stupak's time on the floor.

I don't understand why the Pro-life crowd is upset with Stupak. . . other than getting the reform itself passed. If you don't like the bill, that's one thing. However, from a Pro-life perspective, he ensured that the Hyde Amendment would continued to be enforced -- and basically sent NOW and much of the left into tizzy fits. It was shrewd -- he was able to use his swing vote (and those with him) to give up very little from his perspective (voting with your party isn't that much of a sacrifice) to keep federal funding out of abortion.

Think about it - this is the biggest government reform of health care since abortion was legalized, and those on the left were prevented from subsidizing abortion. This is actually something that is quite astonishing - it was well played. If anything, he should be commended for seeing that there is not to be funding for abortion in this bill.

Sometimes we don't pause to think - we expect total and utter victory in everything. This isn't bad, as far as abortion policy goes. Now, concerning health care in general. . . um. . . we will see. Perhaps quite painfully, but we will see.


Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...


I'm no lawyer, so it's hard for me to know who's telling the truth here. Many of the lawyers on the (R) side insist that an executive order to keep Hyde in place is non-binding.

I think we won't know the truth until years from now when all of this is enacted and then challenged, and by then a promise made to Stupak back in 2010 won't mean very much.

If they really were serious about not including abortion funding, they would have passed the corresponding ammendment. By refusing to allow that language into the bill, they've already indicated their understanding of it.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

If it is an executive order, it can be rescinded at the President's discretion. However, that's not going to happen before 2012 because it would be way too much political fire for the Republicans -- publicly renigging on the compromise that got you your signature bill isn't very astute - President Obama politically can't.

2+ years is pretty good when you have massive democratic majorities in both houses and one in the white house.

Conversely, one might say the Republicans forced Stupak's hand because if he had fought for the amendment, it would have to go back to the Senate, and the Senate Republicans had threatened a filibuster. So Stupak was put in a rough situation, and he got the best out of it he could - he got the health care reform he and his party wanted, and he also put the temporary kabosh on abortion funding.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

He put all the eggs in the basket of an executive order signed by a pro-abortion president.

Executive orders can (and often are) repealed. And furthermore, the next president will not be obliged to abide by the executive order.

I think people are right to be cynical and critical. These congressmen sold out, and did so for a bowl of stew. They had the opportunity to be heroes and take a stand for the unborn, but they exposed themselves for what they are with merely a fig leaf to try to cover themselves.

P.J. O'Rourke called the Congress a "parliament of whores." Former imprisoned democrat congressman Jim Traficant called it "the best Congress money can buy."

The only way Rep. Stupak is truly pro-life is if he is completely ignorant of the political system - and you don't get elected to the federal congress if that's the case.

Calling him a "baby killer" was certainly rude and undignified - but I wouldn't call it inaccurate.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

No - it is inaccurate - and frankly, we need to remember that abortion is not the sole political issue in the world. While I am not in favor of the health care package, I can see why one, if one was convinced that this would be a benefit to the American people at large, would be willing to accept a simple executive order. The Bill isn't fundamentally an "abortion" bill -- simple as that. To say that this bill will unleash a wave of death or "kill babies" is inaccurate.

And using that type of rhetoric will only hurt the conservative movement in this country in the long run.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Eric:

You are right that this is not an abortion bill. Nevertheless, the authors of the bill fully intended to use tax money to *pay* for abortions - something that they were not willing to change legislatively. It is an important plank in the bill. The majority was not willing to take it out.

The new health care paradigm will not unleash *more* baby killing, but it will - for the first time - compel *you* to pay for it.

Not only will Stupak be a baby killer, all of us who pay federal taxes will be. We cannot wash our collective hands of this blood. Stupak has betrayed the consciences of those who elected him as a pro-life congressman.

But Stupak is more of an "enabler" or "accomplice" than a killer. But we should also keep in mind that it is unlikely that Hitler ever personally pushed any of the buttons at the concentration camps. These politicians need to understand that there are real life-and-death consequences resulting from their parliamentary shenanigans.

An executive order is a flimsy and temporary political promise not to enforce the law that Congress has passed. That is a terrible (and dangerous) way to govern.

To out a face on the victims and make it hit closer to home, would you be so sanguine about a law that declared Christianity to be illegal and punishable by death, just as long as President Obama issued an executive order agreeing not to enforce it?

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

So suddenly I am more accountable for abortion? You don't think we didn't bear the economic burden of abortion already? Or what about Blue Cross/Blue Shield that the Concordia plan is part of. . . that organization covers abortion. . . .

And I agree that EOs are horrible things - but I understand what Stupak does - and he shouldn't be the focus of such ire.

And as to your "face" on the issue -- that is not a good analogy. No one is being forced to have abortions - this would be more akin to a law saying that inflamatory and inciteful language towards Christians isn't going to be legally defined as "hate speech" - but that the president promised an EO to include protection for Christians. Either way - eh.

Carl Vehse said...

"P.J. O'Rourke called the Congress a 'parliament of whores.'"

P.J. O'Rourke owes whores, including crack whores, an apology for his insulting comparison of them.

Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Carl:


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Actually, I think we come across a higher percentage of noble prostitutes in Scripture who repent than we do politicians who do likewise. . .

Carl Vehse said...

Here's Glenn Foden's cartoon from yesterday.