I live in Michigan, in one of the 31 counties represented in the U.S.
House of Representatives by none other than Mr. Bart Stupak, a Democrat.
You've probably never heard of him. He's a pretty quiet guy, a former
Michigan State Police trooper who boldly decided to run some 18 years
ago as a Democrat in a rural part of Michigan that votes almost
exclusively for Republicans (yes, I know -- what am I doing here? I'll
save that story for a future letter).
His voting record is pretty conservative for a Democrat, but he's had a
few shining moments. In the wake of the Columbine shootings, he voted
for some gun control, a not-too-popular position to take here in
northern Michigan. The NRA came after him with all they had in 2000.
But the good people of this area knew Bart's story and understood: He's
been touched personally by gun violence. In a terrible tragedy, his
teenage son, depressed and confused from the medication he'd been
prescribed, killed himself with the family's .38 revolver. Despite the
NRA's best efforts, Bart was returned to Congress by an overwhelming
Yet, here we are, just days before a weak, simple-minded, but now
ultimately necessary health care bill has a chance of making it through
Congress -- and Bart Stupak is threatening to derail it because he wants
to make sure that no woman WHO BUYS HER OWN INSURANCE with HER OWN
MONEY is able to have a medically-insured abortion. We're not talkin'
about federally-funded abortions -- those were stupidly outlawed long
ago. Bart Stupak doesn't like that the Democrats' bill doesn't prohibit
private insurance programs, set up for those whose employers don't
provide it, from providing abortion coverage if they get any federal
funding -- even to an individual woman paying without any government
help. That's it.
A group representing most of America's 59,000 Catholic nuns has written
to Congress and said that Obama's health care plan should be passed.
Stupak, instead, has chosen to diss the nuns. Last night he went on TV and dug
his heels in -- he said he intended to stop this health care bill and he
didn't care what anyone had to say.
Now, it would be easy for some to just pass this attitude off on his
Catholicism -- he believes what he believes and you have to respect him
for that, even if you don't agree with him. But it's not that simple. It
turns out that Stupak has been living in a subsidized room in the "C
Street House," run by the infamous right-wing Christian cult "The
Family." It was in this former convent that GOP Rep. Chip Pickering
(according to his former wife) carried on the affair that ended his
marriage. It's where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford sought refuge
as his marriage fell apart thanks to HIS affair. And then there's C
Street roommate Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who cheated on his wife with
the wife of one of his top staffers. (The Justice Department is
currently investigating whether Ensign committed a felony while paying
off his aide to keep him quiet.)
C Street is where power, money, sex and religion meet. So am I led to
believe that Bart Stupak lives in a brothel and belongs to a cult? He
says he was just renting a room there. But that just doesn't ring true.
Something stinks to the high heavens here, and Stupak sees no irony in
taking his holier-than-thou position while living in a house that should
be dubbed "Hypocrites' Hideaway."
If Stupak were truly pro-life then he'd vote for this bill. Right now, a
mother in the U.S. has a TEN times greater chance of dying in
childbirth than a mother does in Ireland. If you really wanted to reduce
abortions, you'd have to ask yourself this question: Why does godless
France, where abortion is nearly free (it's covered by their universal
health insurance), have 20% fewer abortions per capita than we do?
What's even more amazing about that statistic is that you can't even get
an abortion in America in 87% of our counties because there isn't one
single doctor in those counties who will perform one! 87%!! The Right
has scared them all to death -- literally -- out of performing an
otherwise legal, safe procedure. So, you can say women have "choice" in
this country, but the reality is the "choice" doesn't exist in the
majority of the nation. "Right to Life" has essentially won this battle.
(My personal position: I don't get to have a position -- I don't have a
uterus. If a Senate that was 90% female told me I couldn't have a
vasectomy or made it a crime to leave the toilet seat up, I guess I
What is "life"? An egg is life, a sperm is life. Those sperm aren't
running on a battery pack. They are living creatures, as is a fertilized
egg. But they're not "human beings." A human being is something that
can exist outside the womb of a mother. If you think a fertilized egg is
a human being, then I respectfully ask you to go down to the DMV today
and have them change your birthday on your driver's license to 9 months
older than what you've been telling everybody.
So back to my question. Why do we have an abortion rate 20% higher than
France's (and more than twice as high as Germany's), especially
considering most doctors here won't perform them? The answer is ANY
country that has universal health care, where contraception is free,
where child care is free or inexpensive, where there is less poverty
because people don't become bankrupt over medical bills -- those
societies are simply going to have fewer unplanned and unwanted
And there the mask gets pulled off the Bart Stupaks and the
"Christians." If the statistics show that countries with
government-provided universal health care and nearly-free abortions are,
in fact, the countries with the fewest abortions, then why on earth
wouldn't the Right be the first in line to support universal health
Because it isn't about "universal health care." It's about controlling
women, period. It's about sticking your nose in other people's business.
It's about pushing your religious beliefs on everyone else because
voices in your head tell you your Jesus is The One -- even though YOUR
Jesus never said one single solitary word in any of the four gospels of
the Bible about abortion or fertilized eggs being human. You've just
gone and made it up about "life beginning at conception." Jesus NEVER
said that. The little voice in your head said that, the same little
voice that wants your grubby paws on women's uteruses. You need help.
Please get some help and leave the rest of us alone, Mr. Stupak and
After all, isn't it enough that women can't get an abortion in any of
the 31 Michigan counties you represent in Congress? There is not one
single abortion provider here in the north of the state, according to
Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan. Hey, Bart -- you've already
won! Women's rights have been stamped out in your entire Congressional
district! Woo hoo!
So why don't you leave the rest of the country alone, step out of the
way, and let them have the minimal health coverage this bill will give
them? You wouldn't really crush the sick and infirm because of your own
personal agenda, would you? What would Jesus do?
In the meantime, Bart, my neighbors and I are going to make sure a real
Democrat runs against you in August's primary here. One of our religious
beliefs in these parts is to never impose our religious beliefs on
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