Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat at the center of the health care debate's battle over abortion, is going to announce his retirement today from the House.A victory for the Tea Party? Or just the first of many casualties of ObamaCare's passage? Most likely both.
The Associated Press is reporting that Stupak, a member of Congress for the last 18 years, will make his announcement at 12:30 p.m. today in Marquette, Mich. Stupak, 58, had been targeted for defeat by some anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party activists for his role in the health care fight.
Stupak was the leader of about 12 anti-abortion House Democrats who fought for language in the recently enacted health care law ensuring that federal funds would not be used to pay for the procedure. Stupak's group wanted to make sure that taxpayers would not pay for abortions in new government-funded health insurance exchanges or at community health centers that receive federal money.
In the bill that passed the House last month, the group settled for an executive order by President Obama that restated the principles of the so-called Hyde Amendment, which has been in force since 1976. That amendment prohibits federal funding of abortions and mainly applies to Medicaid, the joint state-federal health program for the poor.
Stupak's deal with the White House helped pave the way for House passage of health care, by a vote of 220-215. Obama signed the sweeping health care legislation, which would help insure 32 million Americans, last month.