It’s fun watching progressive Dems try to squirm out of the mess they made for themselves when they allowed an abortion-funding ban into the House health bill in order to get those desperately needed 220 votes.

So now, let’s see: They strip the ban out (it forbids federal subsidies for any insurance plan that covers abortion), and lose the votes of Diana DeGette and her 39 fellow rabid progressives to whom abortion is a holy sacrament–or they leave the ban in and lose the votes of the 64 pro-life and centrist Democrats whose insistence on the amendment enabled Nancy Pelosi to dance her victory jig on Saturday night. What to do?

All I can say is: Thank you, Bart Stupak!

As Bill McGurn writes for the Wall Street Journal:

What makes this interesting is that Mr. Stupak is no Blue Dog. Though some Blue Dogs joined him, the Stupak amendment in fact offers a striking contrast between the success of pro-life Democrats and the persistent failure of Blue Dogs. The pro-lifers came together, held their line, and got their way; the Blue Dogs never seem able to coalesce, and generally have been picked off individually.

“We won because [the Democrats] need us,” says Mr. Stupak. “If they are going to summarily dismiss us by taking the pen to that language, there will be hell to pay. I don’t say it as a threat, but if they double-cross us, there will be 40 people who won’t vote with them the next time they need us—and that could be the final version of this bill.”

So, Dems, who’s it gonna be: DeGette and Planned Parenthood–or Bart Stupak and his pro-lifers who have already gotten Nancy the Enforcer to blink?

This is such fun! It’s also fun to watch President Obama tie himself into knots–he who told Planned Parenthood in 2007 that “reproductive health” (the latest euphemism for abortion) was at the “center” of his proposed healthcare overhaul, and then told America in 2009 that no federal dollars would be spent to subsidize that reproductive health. Now, says the New York Times, Obama’s not “comfortable” with the Stupak amendment. As well he shouldn’t be, because he’s kind of stuck now, isn’t he?

On the one hand, Mr. Obama said, “we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.”

On the other hand, he said, he wanted to make sure “we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices,” because he had promised that “if you’re happy and satisfied with the insurance that you have, it’s not going to change.”

That’s telling ‘em, Mr. President!