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Stupak challenger wrong about abortion, health care bill

Rep. Bart Stupak's stance against taxpayer-funded abortions inspired a challenge to his seat.
Rep. Bart Stupak's stance against taxpayer-funded abortions inspired a challenge to his seat.
Photo courtesy

Connie Saltonstall, a former Charlevoix County commissioner and schoolteacher, says "health care is a right everyone should have.”

Even if you agree with Saltonstall’s dubious claim, it’s hard to see how federally funded abortions are a key component of any such health care reform bill.

Saltonstall is challenging Rep. Bart Stupak’s Michigan’s First Congressional District seat, and doing so exclusively in response to Stupak’s opposition to abortion funding included in pending legislation.

Saltonstall, 64, has received the endorsement of such fair-minded groups as the Huffington Post and RH Reality Check, whose Amanda Marcotte (a contributor) is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. Marcotte wrote at RH Reality Check on Thursday that, “Banning abortion should engender the same reaction as forcing women to wear the hijab, forcing kids to say the rosary in school, or banning non-kosher food from restaurants -- an outrageous violation of religious beliefs.”

Well, with such mainstream support, it’s easy to understand Saltonstall’s optimism in throwing her hat into the ring!

Jodi Jacobson, another RH Reality Check abortion zealot, writes that Stupak “teamed up with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to bully his and their way into holding health reform hostage to their own fundamentalist Catholic agenda by threatening to derail the whole thing unless the ‘Stupak Amendment’ was passed.”

Of course, that’s poppycock. But it sure raises the hackles of progressives and other “health care” advocates and serves to misdirect people concerned about the scope and cost of any (seemingly) inevitable health care overhaul.

Stupak’s stance certainly isn’t new, nor is it somehow his desire to derail health care reform legislation. Stupak (Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations), as Ms. Jacobson and her ilk would know via a simple Google search, supported health care legislation in the House in November. But he, along with about a dozen Democrat colleagues, contends that a $1 trillion Senate version would authorize federal abortion subsidies.

Those congressmen oppose such funding, as do millions of other Americans. In addition, Stupak says progress is being made toward compromise language as the bill moves forward, and he expects to continue talks with House leaders to craft wording that would impose no new limits on abortion rights but also would not allow use of federal money for the procedure.

"I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak told the Associated Press on Monday in Tawas City. "The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I. That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points -- we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."

Stupak authored an amendment to the House-endorsed health care bill that prohibits federal subsidies from being used to buy health care plans that offer abortion coverage. Current law -- known as the Hyde amendment -- prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Stupak’s critics insist the language in his amendment goes beyond current law, claiming the wording would discourage private insurers from offering plans that provide abortion services for people participating in the proposed health exchanges.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, in a Tuesday story in The Detroit News, said that Stupak asked to meet with him in an effort to craft language that will satisfy all sides in the abortion debate.

"It has to be resolved," Hoyer said of the fight over abortion language in a final health care bill. "I think it will be resolved one way or the other, and I think the bill will pass. ... It's got to be resolved."

That’s a far cry from the apocalyptic scenario painted by abortion advocates. It also makes Saltonstall appear shrill when she says, "I decided to run because people were asking for a candidate because they were mad about the health care issue. It's his willingness to not have health care pass over his abortion position that has people like me upset."

Actually, Ms. Saltonstall, people are upset about the health care issue for all sorts of reasons -- but very few are clamoring for federal funding of abortions as a cornerstone of “universal” care. It’s a feminist chimera constructed to lend unwarranted credit to yet another peripheral health care “right.”

One needn’t oppose tummy tucks to resist federal funding of elective plastic surgery. And one mustn’t be anti-abortion to oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. Saltonstall’s characterization of Stupak’s position as “reprehensible” is, in itself, dishonest and smacks of petty, puerile politics.


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