The Pitts amendment actually passed, 31-27, with the support of several Democrats and all Republicans. But the "forcible" language--legally significant--was a bridge too far.
In a parliamentary maneuver, chairman Henry Waxman actually voted "aye", according to a House aide, in order to retain the prerogative of bringing it up for a second, unsuccessful vote. Between votes, Waxman conferred with some of the bill's Democratic supporters to convince them to help shoot it down.
One of them, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), agreed to flip his vote. Another--Rep. Zack Space (D-IN)--didn't vote at all the first time around, but voted against it on its second pass. And that was enough to kill it.
This past weekend, Stupak succeeded in adding his own, strict abortion language to the bill passed by the full House. Without distinguishing between "rape" and "forcible rape," the "Stupak amendment" prevents women receiving insurance affordability credits from buying policies that cover abortion. And it has quickly become one of the main focal points of the reform fight.
There are some signs that Stupak's pro-life tendencies run even deeper than his amendment indicates. But he's also shown a willingness to advance legislation, even if it isn't as pro-life as he'd like.
Stupak's office has not respond to a request for an interview.