Bart Stupak, the Michigan congressman who led the charge against President Obama’s health care bill on the grounds that it might allow tax money to pay for abortions, has decided he will not run for re-election in 2010.

The Democrat has been on the defensive since he accepted an executive order promising no federal financing of abortions and then voted for the reform bill.

Tea party and anti-abortion activists (is there a difference?) have aggressively campaigned against Stupak, attacking the congressman from the right, while pro-choice Democrats chastised him for dragging his heels. –JCL


During the healthcare debate, Stupak led a coalition of anti-abortion Democrats that threatened to kill the bill because of concerns it would allow taxpayer money to finance abortions. That angered healthcare reform supporters and abortion-rights advocates who saw it as an effort to expand federal restrictions against abortion.

Stupak settled for an executive order stating that no federal funding for abortion would be provided and ended up voting in favor of the healthcare bill. Anti-abortions groups were outraged and he became a target for the conservative Tea Party movement which sponsored radio and television ads to defeat him in the November congressional elections.

Fellow Michigan Democrat Mike Lahti, a state representative, said Stupak would rather spend time with his wife, Laurie, and his family than go through a bitter campaign this summer.

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