WASHINGTON -- Rep. Bart Stupak. D-Mich., under fire from pro-lifers for his vote on health care reform, announced Friday that he'll retire instead of seeking a tenth term.
Stupak has been criticized for his crucial role in securing House approval of the health care overhaul.
The Michigan lawmaker became a hero of the pro-life movement during the early months of the health care reform battle by leading a group of pro-life Democrats who insisted on language to keep federal funding of abortion out of the House's health care bill.
Click play for an update on Stupak's retirement with CBN News Washington Correspondent John Jessup.
However, he did an abrupt about-face and gave up that insistence when the House voted on the Senate's version of the bill. Instead, Stupak accepted President Obama's offer to sign an executive order that would supposedly forbid such taxpayer abortion funding.
Consequently, he's become one of the pro-life movement's biggest targets.
"When you really, truly believe in someone, and you see honor and courage and a willingness to run upstream against the leadership and then that person at the very last minute bails," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.
"We had a few guys like Congressman Stupak that had all the power, all the power to save unborn children for decades and he gave it away for a piece of paper that has absolutely no weight to it," she said.
But Stupak insists he's not giving up his seat because pro-life and Tea Party activists were vowing to run him out of office. He said instead that he's tired after 18 years as a Michigan congressman and wants to spend more time with family.