By Deborah Kotz, Washington Whispers
Add Planned Parenthood to the special interest groups assailing Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak for potentially holding up passage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's health reform bill until it clearly states that public funds cannot be used for abortions. He says the current bill leaves open that possibility, while Planned Parenthood says he's trying to reduce the number of insurance plans that currently cover abortions. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards described Stupak, the Michigan congressman, in ways the group normally reserves for talking about conservatives.
"There are those of us who want to see health reform passed and those who want to use it for their demagogue issues. Stupak has lost the big picture, in my opinion. He's trying to re-litigate the abortion issue, and it's unfortunate to see," she said. In a statement, Stupak says the legislation would mandate "abortion services for the first time in our nation's history."
Richards says she doesn't think that "pro life" voices have gotten stronger in the Democratic Party: Stupak has always held his views, she says, and he's always been in the small minority. On the other hand, she adds, "pro choice" Republicans are being squeezed out of their party. "I can count on one hand the number of pro-choice Republicans in Congress," she insists.