Catholic Abortion Foe Rep. Bart Stupak Defies His Democratic Party on Health Care Bill

MENOMINEE, Mich. — Representative Bart Stupak often endures things others find unbearable. He crisscrosses a Congressional district so vast that some constituents live eight hours apart and so cold that the beer at his beloved football games sometimes freezes. Years ago, as a state trooper, he blew out his knee chasing a suspect, and he has since had so many operations that he now returns to work the same day, toting crutches and ice.

After his younger son committed suicide in 2000, using the congressman’s gun, Mr. Stupak soon resumed his predawn commute to Washington and his solid voting record with the National Rifle Association.

Now he is enduring more hatred than perhaps any other member of Congress, much of it from fellow Democrats. His name has become a slogan: “Stop Stupak!”

Scott Schloegel, his chief of staff, said wearily, “I can’t tell you how many New Yorkers have called me up and yelled at me about this Stupak guy.”

With final negotiations on a health care overhaul beginning this week, complaints about “the evil Stupak amendment,” as the congressman dryly called it over dinner here recently, are likely to grow even louder. The amendment prevents women who receive federal insurance subsidies from buying abortion coverage — but critics assert it could cause women who buy their own insurance difficulty in obtaining coverage.

Mr. Stupak insists that the final bill include his terms, which he says merely reflect current law. If he prevails, he will have won an audacious, counterintuitive victory, forcing a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass a measure that will be hailed as an anti-abortion triumph. If party members do not accept his terms — and many vow they will not — Mr. Stupak is prepared to block passage of the health care overhaul.

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Pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak claims enough votes to stop health care bill over abortion

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Washington D.C., Oct 23, 2009 / 06:25 pm (CNA).- Drawing opposition from pro-abortion politicians and activists, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) is leading a coalition of about 40 pro-life Democrats who are petitioning for an opportunity to vote Hyde Amendment-like abortion funding restrictions into the proposed health care reform legislation.

Rep. Stupak is negotiating with Congressional leaders to resolve the dispute. He has threatened to block action on the larger health care reform bill unless he is allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde Amendment, the Associated Press reports.

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