By Frank James
Rep. Bart Stupak doesn't sound like he's close to throwing in the towel even if some of his fellow anti-abortion Democrats appear to be buckling under tremendous pressure from fellow partisans who want Stupak to stop standing in the way of health-care overhaul legislation unless it includes abortion language to his liking.
The National Review The Corner blog reports on an airport conversation with the Michigan Democrat in which he sounds, if not exactly beaten, like a man who senses he may be increasingly waging an uphill battle, especially as members of his anti-abortion bloc get picked off.
According to Stupak, that group of twelve pro-life House Democrats -- the "Stupak dozen" -- has privately agreed for months to vote 'no' on the Senate's health-care bill if federal funding for abortion is included in the final legislative language. Now, in the debate's final hours, Stupak says the other eleven are coming under "enormous" political pressure from both the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). "I am a definite 'no' vote," he says. "I didn't cave. The others are having both of their arms twisted, and we're all getting pounded by our traditional Democratic supporters, like unions..."
..."Throughout this debate, even when the House leaders have acknowledged us, it's always been in a backhanded way," he laments. "I'm telling the others to hold firm, and we'll meet next week, but I'm disappointed in my colleagues who said they'd be with us and now they're not. It's almost like some right-to-life members don't want to be bothered. They just want this over."
(Hat tip: Peter Overby)