Pro-Life Dem. Stupak Will Not Seek Re-election

Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who led the anti-abortion front during the health care debate, says that he will not seek re-election when his term is up this November, saying that he's too "burned out" to continue.

"I'm just getting tired being gone all of the time," Stupak told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. "I have trouble getting up for the count … I'm just burned out."

Stupak, 58, who is Catholic, garnered media attention last year when he introduced an amendment to the House health care bill to ensure that federal dollars would not be used to fund abortions. He remained critical of the bill's language on abortion until, just a few days prior to the vote, President Obama announced that he would issue an executive order to uphold the tenants of the amendment.

While Obama's actions were enough for Stupak, the majority of anti-abortion protestors continue to see the bill as containing too many loopholes regarding federally funded abortions.

A $500,000 ad campaign recently launched by the Family Research Council says "even the abortion industry agrees that the President's order has no legal standing - it's worthless."

In an interview with Catholic News Agency (CNA), Stupak defended Obama's order, saying that it was "absolutely" a success for the pro-life cause. He also noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had enough votes "in her pocket" to pass the bill with or without his support.

In a statement released by Stupak on Friday, the lawmaker detailed his passion for obtaining universal health care for all Americans, and noted his pledge to forgo the insurance package offered to members of Congress until such quality of care was available to everyone.

"For the last 18 years, I have kept that promise," he said, adding that he is "proud to have helped bring" the legislation "across the finish line."

One of the longest serving representatives in Congress, Stupak, who held his position for nine terms, has often been a target of the GOP, particularly the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement, who recently launched an ad campaign against him.

Stupak denied that Republican pressure had anything to do with his decision to retire.

Meanwhile, leaders in the Democratic Party have expressed their concern over the Michigan lawmaker's departure, as it narrows their margin of error for keeping a majority in the House.

"Obviously, we would have preferred that he run - he's a popular incumbent and a good man," David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, told AP. "But there are large numbers of incumbents retiring on both sides, and my understanding is that he's been planning this for some time. People have to live their lives. We understand that."

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