Updated Tuesday afternoon with Kirk response
Maybe in the end the Stupak-Pitts amendment the House included in the health reform bill approved Saturday night--placing restrictions on insurance paying for abortions--won't survive in the Senate version and/or when the two chambers work out differences in the legislation.
But Illinois Senate hopeful Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) damaged his 100 per cent abortion rights voting record by supporting Stupak-Pitts. Presuming Kirk wins the GOP primary--a contest where Kirk is the extreme front-runner--Kirk handed Democrats a general election issue. On Tuesday, Kirk was kicked by the National Abortion Rights League for his vote.
An e-mailed to a Kirk spokesman was not returned.
Update Tuesday afternoon.
Statement from Kirk campaign manager, Eric Elk:
"Congressman Kirk is pro-choice and opposes federal funding of abortion. That is the same position he held when he first ran for Congress in 2000 and it hasn't changed. In 2000, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald all reported on NARAL's misleading partisan smears of Mr. Kirk's record. With unemployment topping 10% and a corrupt governor facing criminal trial, the people of Illinois want a reform-minded social moderate and fiscal conservative like Congressman Mark Kirk who will lower taxes, rein in spending and create jobs for Illinois families."
Kirk abortion related ratings From Project VoteSmart.org
2008 Representative Kirk supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 100 percent in 2008.
2007-2008 Representative Kirk supported the interests of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association 100 percent in 2007-2008.
2007-2008 Based on a point system, with points assigned for actions in support of or in opposition to National Right to Life Committee's position, Representative Kirk received a rating of 0.
Below, NARAL statement....
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today denounced the anti-choice health-care vote of Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
Kirk was once regarded as a moderate, fair-minded supporter of women's privacy and rights, but no longer. After Kirk voted in favor of the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts amendment, which effectively bans abortion coverage in the new health system, NARAL Pro-Choice America no longer considers Kirk pro-choice.
"It is obvious from his recent votes, including the indefensible vote for the Stupak-Pitts abortion ban amendment, that Mark Kirk would rather have the endorsement of Sarah Palin than the support of millions of pro-choice voters in Illinois," Keenan said.
Keenan said Kirk's vote is confirmation that he is engaged in a political calculation that betrays his professed standards of centrism and moderation, and therefore, he doesn't deserve a promotion to the U.S. Senate.
"Rep. Kirk is clearly abandoning the moderate positions that afforded him re-election to the House in favor of radically conservative views that he hopes will bolster support for his Senate campaign," Keenan said. "His move to the radical right is not what we expect from a moderate member of Congress. Women's freedom and privacy are at stake, and I am committed to working with NARAL Pro-Choice America's 98,000 Illinois activists, members, and supporters to defeat Mark Kirk's Senate campaign."