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Anti-Choice Site Names The Stupak 12

In case you were wondering which 12 House Democrats would throw health care overboard because they want to see further restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, the anti-choice website Life News has a list of them.

The website lists the 12 House Democrats as follows: Bart Stupak (D-MI), Joseph Cao (R-LA), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Steve Dreihaus (D-OH), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Jim Oberstar (D-MN), and Charlie Wilson (D-OH).

Bart Stupak has been making the rounds saying that he and his cohorts would be willing to kill health care reform if he didn’t get his language on abortion funding into the bill. Since that language cannot, in all likelihood, get changed through reconciliation rules, Stupak’s choices are simply to either vote no on the bill or try to get a third bill passed with his standalone amendment.

The third bill option probably sits in the back of the minds of the House leadership and the White House. If they fail to attract enough former no votes, their only path to passage would be this approach. It’s demonstrated that such an amendment could pass the House easily. As for the Senate, Stupak’s amendment failed back in December. But given the “pass something, anything” mania common among Democrats, I could at least see some persuaded by this.

It’s worth noting once again that the Nelson amendment, currently in the Senate bill, is potentially just as bad for women, according to Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards. But Democrats having to put together a standalone bill to take away women’s rights would simply be humiliating.

These 12 Democrats may have an ulterior reason to oppose the health care bill, but since talking about abortion gives you a magic spray that cannot be criticized because it’s supposedly a matter of principle, they’re using the Stupak amendment as an excuse.

Notable for their inclusion on the list: Brad Ellsworth, running for Senate in Indiana, who of course doesn’t have to face Democratic primary voters because of Evan Bayh’s gambit; and Marcy Kaptur, who in other circumstances is an economic progressive but who has always held anti-choice beliefs. Many of the others are from predominantly Catholic districts.

Digby had a smart take.

I’m waiting for a liberal health care reform advocate to tell me that pro-choice people in the House need to offer up a bill that would prohibit anyone from paying for an abortion if their money has ever been touched by someone who is opposed to it — or perhaps offer to give up the right to abortion altogether. And if they refuse, they will be accused of being uncaring about all those people who will be harmed by their willful refusal to compromise for the greater good and lectured about all the poor women who will get other kinds of care if they will just make this one silly little compromise.

Oddly, I haven’t heard a lot of commentators making that argument about the staunch Catholic, Bart Stupak. But then that would be rude because he’s allegedly arguing from religious conviction while the feminists who are desperately trying to hang on to some form of access to their right to own their bodies are just being selfish Divas. So, it’s completely different.

UPDATE: Just to see how this tracks with the original Stupak letter from last summer, only Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) and Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) are co-signers of that letter, who voted yes on the health care bill the first time around, but aren’t part of this “Stupak 12” list.

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David Dayen

David Dayen