Bart Stupak & a few other Democrats have broken the hearts of many who were supporting them when they appeared to be giving priority to the protection of unborn human lives. This afternoon they announced they are going with a deal in which President Obama issues an executive order that supposedly would prohibit any taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care plan. That is a worthless guarantee as an executive order can be easily overturned by Mr. Obama or a future president.
Even if the President has the best of intentions (which I doubt), knowledgeable people say that an executive order cannot change established law, only new legislation can. (Here's a statement released earlier today from Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
Unfortunately, Mr. Stupak seems to share the liberal tendency to believe in fantasies, such as that a national health plan will will usher in some new utopia of guaranteed health care without any loss of quality. Unfortunately, he compromised his prolife principles in pursuit of this fantasy.
Tonight the debate is drawing to a close and Republican leader John Boehner is delivering a spirited challenge to the broken process that has brought the bill to this point. Liberal Democrats are comparing this day to past glories like Social Security, Medicare, etc. However, this bill is much more massive and intrusive. Moreover, with an engaged citizenry and a new variety of alternate media able to mix it up, the rumbling civic and political debate is just beginning.