Republican Calls It 'A Tragedy' for Pro-Life Democrats 'to Cave to Most Pro-Abortion President' in History

March 23, 2010 - 6:40 PM
A prominent pro-life Republican in the House of Representatives said he deeply regrets Rep. Bart Stupak's change of vote on the Democrats' health care bill.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

(CNSNews.com) – A prominent pro-life Republican in the House of Representatives said he deeply regrets that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) surrendered his position on a pro-life amendment to the health care bill that was passed by the House on Sunday and signed into law by the president on Tuesday.  
 
“I would be against this bill under any circumstances,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told CNSNews.com. “I would have respected a vote by certain big government Democrats that consider themselves pro-life who had gotten pro-life language in the bill. I would have thought they did what they thought was right. But to cave to the most pro-abortion president in the history of the nation -- that’s just a tragedy.”
 
Since last fall, Stupak had been the leading voice for pro-life Democrats in the House. In November, his amendment to prevent any federal funding for health plans that covered abortion passed in the House. However, the Senate bill that was passed on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24,  allowed taxpayer funds to pay to subsidize health insurance plans that covered abortion.
 
On Sunday, the Senate plan cleared the House by a slim 219-212 vote, indicating that Stupak and the pro-life Democrats who backed him possibly could have blocked the matter until his amendment language was inserted into the legislation and the bill voted on again in both chambers.
 
However, Stupak agreed to vote for the existing Senate bill after President Barack Obama said he would sign an executive order with the intent of preventing federal funding of abortion.
 
The executive order, says “it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services,” but continues, “to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.”
  
This is essentially the same as what the Senate language said before and thus does not prevent federal (taxpayer) dollars from paying for health plans in the federal exchanges that cover abortions.
 
“I was just crushed that Mr. Stupak fell for that false solution,” Franks told CNSNews.com. “It breaks my heart for the country, even for him. I think perhaps the administration deceived him to a degree.”
 
Stupak attended the White House signing ceremony on Tuesday with other Democrats.
bart stupak

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., announces he will vote to pass the health care reform bill after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order reaffirming the ban on using federal funds to provide abortions. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

“All of us, in the lonely moments of a nursing home or something like that, we’re going to look back and see some of the votes we made. This one will be a huge one in my judgment,” Franks said.
 
“I think it is especially going to be hurtful to Bart Stupak because I think he started out with good intentions but unfortunately, under the pressures of the most pro-abortion administration in history took their toll on him,” said Franks.
 
A spokesperson for Stupak could not be reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon. But, in a written statement released on Sunday, Stupak said he had confidence in the executive order.
 
“I have said from the start I would not vote for health care reform without adequate protections in place to make sure the current law of no federal funding for abortion is maintained,” Stupak said in the statement. “The president’s Executive Order upholds the principle that federal funds should not be used to subsidize abortion coverage.”
 
But Franks commented that Stupak succumbed to too much pressure from his party.
 
“He felt like he had to deal with them. I think the country would have been far more respectful if he had stood his ground,” Franks said. “It turns out he had the votes to stop the bill. He could have said you are either going to make sure this doesn’t do anything to take the lives of unborn children or you’re not going to get it passed with my help.”
 
“If he had stood his ground, he could have prevailed,” said Franks. “Some of us told him that he had the power to prevail, if he had the courage to persevere.”