Everyone, and I mean everyone, agrees that the executive order on abortion Bart Stupak got President Obama to sign is a sham--a fig leaf not worth the paper it's printed on.
So why did Stupak sell out his pro-life principles?
Is he a dupe? Couldn't he take the heat from his Democratic primary challenger, Rachel Maddow, and the White House? Or did he just always care more about passing the health care bill than making sure that federal dollars weren't spent on the taking of innocent human lives?
I don't think Stupak is stupid--he was smart enough to read the text of the Nelson amendment and know it was a sham bookkeeping scheme designed to provide federal funding for elective abortion coverage. Maybe he just couldn't take the pressure in the end. But it seems most likely that when push came to shove he cared more about passing Obamacare than defending the right to life.
Many are pointing to this video from the fall in which Stupak said he could vote for the House bill if the House voted down his amendment. It was indeed a warning sign, but it's worth noting that that statement came before the House passed his amendment in November. After the House passed his amendment, he said repeatedly that he would not vote for a final bill unless it included his amendment. According to Stupak, this is the message he delivered to Democratic leaders last week:
I'm sorry but the House has spoken. We had that debate. We won 240-190. You forced the vote, a vote we won fair and square and we're not gonna, this is what it is. If you want to move health care keep current law.
I guess he didn't mean it.