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Stupak Threatens to Block Health Care over Abortion, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Take a Nap

Bart Stupak (D-Gilead)

Bart Stupak (D-Gilead)

According to the Hill, Bart Stupak says he has enough anti-abortion Democratic votes to block the health care bill from passing:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said he already has enough anti-abortion Democrats to, in the parlance of the House, “take down the rule.” Stupak wants a more complete ban on taxpayer money funding abortions, which House leaders appear unwilling to grant.


[Louise] Slaughter, the Rules chairwoman, indicated that she didn’t expect Stupak’s anti-abortion amendment to be allowed. Stupak believes that government subsides for people purchasing private insurance could direct tax dollars to abortions, and wants insurance participating in the bill’s “exchanges” banned from covering abortion.

Where the hell is Planned Parenthood? How about NARAL? (*crickets*)

What are they doing, planning their outfits for the next Common Purpose meeting? Maybe they’ll bring it up. Sure would be interesting to know if they do.

If Stupak’s got 39 votes, that means he’s picked up 20 since the 19 Democratic right-to-lifers (including Marcy Kaptur) wrote a letter saying they’d — yes — draw a line in the sand over abortion in the health care bill:

The 19 Democrats are: Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Colin Peterson (D-MN); Tim Holden (D-PA); Travis Childers (D-MS); Lincoln Davis (D-TN); Heath Shuler (D-NC) Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerry Costello (D-IL); Gene Taylor (D-MS); James Oberstar (D-MN); Bobby Bright (D-AL); Steve Driehaus (D-OH); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Charlie Melancon (D-LA); John Murtha (D-PA); Paul Kanjorski (D-PA); and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA).

Kanjorski and Murtha have primary challengers — Bobby Bright is a dead man walking without the help of the DCCC — to say that the White House, leadership, the party, or even Planned Parenthood have no leverage in the situation is just laughable.

Is the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives calling the plays on health care now?

There’s no way this ends well. If Rules doesn’t allow his amendment on to the floor, Stupak and the right-to-lifers start to howl and use it for personal political gain, which also whips up the wingers and gets THEM frothing and boosts their turnout in 2010.

Great job. Really. How exactly is this helpful to the Democrats?

Look, the usefullness of Planned Parenthood and NARAL is not “only making a stink when leadership thinks it’s a good idea” or “staying quiet and letting the Democrats expand their big tent because Republicans are worse.”

If they can shut this shit down they would do everyone favor, and there are lots of ways to do that. To the best of my knowledge, they’re doing none of them.

How about calling all of Stupak’s women donors? How about contacting the women who work for PACS that donate to Stupak? A lot of orgs that have a lot to lose by being associated with right-to-lifers. Turn him into a one-issue guy, back him into the “right-to-life” corner. He’s from Michigan, for fuck’s sake. It ain’t the bible belt.

But, that would mean playing hardball and actually advocating for what you tell people you represent, and you might lose you those White House cocktail party invites. Just tragic.

Taking a powder on this one is quite possibly Planned Parenthood’s and NARAL’s best move since helping to put Joe Lieberman in office.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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