Like a petulant child, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) is all over radio and television stomping his feet on health care reform.
He now says that unless he and his supporters in Congress “get their way,” they will refuse to vote for passage of the Senate bill in the House.
I think Bart Stupak needs a time out.
According to the Huffington Post, Stupak is ready to jettison health reform “to stand up for his principles.” (Or those of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as Stupak and the USCCB are playing in the same pen).
“We’re not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language,” Stupak said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” a reference to language included in the Senate health bill that Stupak and 11 other Democrats say is not tough enough when it comes to limiting federal funding for abortions.
“That kind of language” here referring to the extremely troubling Nelson provision in the Senate health care bill which is so onerous in itself it will have basically the same effects as Stupak’s own language. But maybe he needs his own name tied to the effort to restrict women’s rights or the USCCB won’t give him the biggest gold star?
“I want to see health care pass,” Stupak said. “We must have health care but, boy, there are some principles and beliefs that some of us are not going to pass.
“We’re prepared to take the responsibility. I mean, I’ve been catching it ever since last fall. Let’s face it, I want to see health care. But we’re not going to bypass some principles and beliefs that we feel strongly about.”
Boy, you know, there are some principles and beliefs held by the majority of Americans regarding the right to privacy, the freedom to decide on whether and when to have children, and freedom of religion that we just don’t think Mr. Stupak is allowed to abrogate.
And there are some types of health insurance coverage that the majority of women covered by private insurance currently have and would like to keep. But Bart Stupak wants to eliminate your coverage in the private market too. You’ve got the good congressman and a group of men in collars peeking into your bedroom, your uterus, your insurance….where does it stop?
I, like millions of others I am sure, would like to move on from this tired attempt at tyranny from the religious right and start to fix the health care system. But Stupak keeps inserting himself and his religious beliefs and his civilian representation of the Catholic Bishops into the process.
Unfortunately, the only reason we have to deal with Stupak is that the Democratic Party keeps catering to him and helping him run for office. But that is another story.
The fact is, even Stupak’s own assessment of his support in the House keeps dwindling.
Today, he claims 11 other representatives will vote against reform if they don’t get their way on “that language.” But on February 24th, he told The Hill he had “15 to 20.” On February 26th, it was down to “10 to 12″ members declaring an official tantrum unless they can impose their will, yesterday it was 12, and today it is 11.
Either he didn’t get a passing grade in math, or he is bluffing.
Whichever it is, there are tens of millions of American women–and men–who still get the separation of (Catholic) Church and state. Let’s send Bart back to Michigan so he can retake politics and civics classes and get real health reform passed for all people, including women.