This article is from the archive of our partner .

Representative Bart Stupak has taken a lot of criticism for his "yes" vote on health care reform, but apparently one attack stung him enough for a direct response. That attack came from The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker. Stupak hurls back a reply in the same paper.

On Wednesday, Parker attacked Stupak for his last-minute switch, agreeing to vote for the bill in exchange for an executive order prohibiting federal funding of abortions. "Ultimately," scoffs Parker, "he was weak and overwhelmed by raw political power ... The executive order promising that no federal funds will be used for abortion is utterly useless, and everybody knows it." In support of this assertion, she points out, among other drawbacks, that the order is "judicially unenforceable." Drawing on Biblical themes, Parker paints Stupak as a traitor.

On Friday, Stupak responds.


When I saw that Kathleen Parker's ... op-ed ... defined me as a "backstabber," it reminded me of a Bible verse. Matthew 7:3 asks, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

He accuses the "pro-life groups that rallied behind [him]" of doing so not out of pro-life enthusiasm but "because they viewed him] as their best chance to kill health-care legislation." When push came to shove, he argues, he went with the option most likely to protect the right to life--"an 'ironclad' commitment from the president that no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions." And that problem with judicial enforcement? The same should be true of George Bush's order restricting stem-cell research, he says. No one complained about that one.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.