Rep. Bart Stupak (D, Mich) will formally announce later today that he is not seeking re-election. You all know the story about his seemingly heroic fight against abortion funding through health care reform only to capitulate at the last minute securing a deal with President Barack Obama that does nothing to stop abortion funding. He faced a challenge within his own party from the pro-abortion Left and would likely face a serious Republican challenger for the first time in years in the general election. With Stupak completely out of the race (if not the picture) this slightly increases the chances of a pro-abortion Democrat, Connie Saltonstall, who is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice America, MI List and NOW.

Without Stupak, Michigan’s Congressional District 1 is a likely Republican pick-up. Stupak beat Tom Casperson in 2008, 213,216 to 107,340 — just a hair under a two-to-one margin. While Obama won the district in 2008, it was much closer: 167,152-160,874.  Democrats win districts like Michigan’s first when they run centrist candidates: fiscally liberal, socially conservative. Cultural issues — God and guns — win rural ridings. A rabidly pro-abortion candidate such as Saltonstall, whose entire reason for running was to defeat a pro-life member of  her party, will have difficulty holding onto the seat. I haven’t checked to see if any of the Republicans (Daniel Benishek, Linda Goldthorpe or Don Hooper) are pro-life, but the clear message that Stupak’s retirement sends is that selling out one’s pro-life principles is not politically wise.

Just seeing Stupak in the final weeks of the health care debate, before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the Congressman looked tired. Regardless of the authenticity of his pro-life views, the battle (real or for show) appeared to take a lot out of him. However, this nugget from the Detroit News might shed some light on Stupak’s commitment to hold the line on abortion funding:

Stupak, 58, said he had considered retirement for years but was persuaded to stay in Congress because of the prospect of serving with a Democratic majority and helping win approval of the health care overhaul, which he described as his top legislative priority.

“I’ve fought my whole career for health care and thanks to Barack Obama and my colleagues, we’ve gotten it done,” he said.

In other words, getting health care passed might have been the priority over ensuring it did not include abortion funding.

Jill Stanek’s reaction is fairly close to mine:

On 1 hand my anger at Stupak is heightened by this announcement. He created this huge mess and now is walking away. I smell chicken. On the other hand, I feel a sense of vindication.

I expect Stupak will play the martyr when he makes his statement.

I also expect Stupak’s announcement will put the fear of God into the other 19 pro-life Democrat turncoats.