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NOW, BlueAmerica Back Stupak Challenger

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The National Organization for Women is getting behind the candidacy of Connie Saltonstall, a Democrat challenging Rep. Bart Stupak (Mich.) in a primary campaign. Stupak, who has been leading a campaign against health care reform because the final bill doesn't include an abortion amendment he wrote, may be the first politician to draw a primary opponent for his position on health care.

Saltonstall has been endorsed by BlueAmerica PAC, a top clearinghouse for online donations, and is reaching out to the blogosphere, holding a live-chat Wednesday afternoon at Crooks and Liars hosted by digby.

"I absolutely think she can win," NOW President Terry O'Neill told HuffPost. "NOW women in Michigan are very excited about her."

Michigan voters, said O'Neill, are "appalled" that Stupak would try to derail health care in a state with surging numbers of uninsured, and use the health care debate as an opportunity to roll back abortion rights. Stupak's district leans conservative.

Saltonstall is using Stupak's health care posturing as a key election issue. "I believe that [Stupak] has a right to his personal, religious views, but to deprive his constituents of needed health care reform because of those views is reprehensible," she said in a statement.

O'Neill said that NOW was committed to electing Saltonstall in the general election, as well.

"I think he does not belong in Congress," said O'Neill. But, she said, "It would not be a success to have a conservative Republican replace Bart Stupak."

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a district-by-district analysis of health care reform's impact.

According to the committee, 44,000 people in Stupak's district will gain coverage if the bill passes.

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