March 17th, 2010
04:37 PM ET
11 years ago

Nuns break with bishops over health care bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A progressive Catholic advocacy organization announced Wednesday that a group of Catholic nuns is supporting the Senate health care reform bill backed by President Obama."]
Washington (CNN) – A group of Catholic nuns is urging Congress to pass health care reform, breaking ranks with bishops who say the current bill does not do enough to block federal money from being used to fund abortions.

"We write to urge you to cast a life-affirming 'yes' vote when the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) comes to the floor of the House for a vote as early as this week," a group of nuns wrote in a letter to members of Congress released Wednesday by NETWORK, progressive Catholic advocacy organization.

NETWORK said the 55 signatories represent tens of thousands of Catholic nuns in the United States.

The letter argues that the legislation "will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children."

"And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions," the letter reads. "It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it."

The nuns are siding with the Catholic Health Association, a group representing Catholic hospitals, which offered its support for reform earlier this week.

Both groups are diverging from the powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which stepped up its criticism of the bill in recent days. The president of the bishops conference, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, said Monday that the bill's language on abortion is not restrictive enough to satisfy Catholics.

"It expands federal funding and the role of the federal government in the provision of abortion procedures," George said in a statement. "In so doing, it forces all of us to become involved in an act that profoundly violates the conscience of many, the deliberate destruction of unwanted members of the human family still waiting to be born."

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Filed under: Abortion • Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Stacey

    Way to go, Nuns!

    March 17, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Finally, some religious group that says that it is better to pass something with a possible problem than have no bill at all.

    March 17, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Carole

    Way to go SISTAS!

    **I equate the Republican talking point of the 45% that do not want health care to the commercial about Teens on Drugs. If 45% of the Teens using Drugs are in cities, then where are the other 55%?

    Republicans need to worry about the 45% who want it. Both parties have a DRAW here.

    March 17, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Independent One

    MY GOD Pass the bill ALREADY.....I'm tired of hearing about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 17, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |

    No offense to the Catholic Church, but bishops really shouldn't have a say in the matter. Hundreds of them molesting altar boys and they are questioning abortion. I guess they're against abortion so they can have some more young kids to molest.

    March 17, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Son of a Preacher Man

    The Catholic Church needs to stay out of American politics. ... its that whole separation of church and state thing that the state of Texas is trying to ignore.

    That said, I'm glad these nuns are not letting the white male hierachy of the Catholic church act as though they are GOD.

    Hopefully their actions will teach an embarassing lesson to these men.

    Lesson 1.) If you can't keep quiet because you are part of the church and this is politics, then

    Lesson 2.) Keep quiet because you don't have wombs and other associated anatomy, or

    Lesson 3.) Support this bill because it is represents "Christ-like behavior". Covering uncovered people with healthcare is something Jesus probably would have been in favor of.

    March 17, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Librarian

    Good for them. THANK YOU !!!!

    March 17, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Liz

    This is not a bill about potential people, this is a bill about real live, walking, talking, thinking, feeling people! i applaud these nuns who are standing up for the lives of people who are dying for lack of health care. the so-called pro-'life' opponents of this bill who would let thousands of real people die every year rather than vote for this bill are raging hypocrites! there's nothing even remotely pro LIFE about them.

    March 17, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Wisconsonite - Stop Smoking the Tea Bags!

    "This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it."

    Now THESE are couragous women!

    March 17, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. If it walks like a duck.....

    They don't pay taxes and should not have any say in politics or how our tax dollars are used.

    March 17, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    Wow this is shocking news. I thought nuns didnt have any right to voice their opinion especially for catholics. Now all we need is for nuns to have more power in the catholic church. After all, women know more about pregnancy (family, children, women's body, etc.) than men do!

    March 17, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. John

    Funny how the higher-ups place more value on the health of potential people than they do on the health of actual people.

    March 17, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Finally, some compassionate Christian voices are raised to fight for the less fortunate among us!

    March 17, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Cindy

    now "that's" courage! God bless the Sisters!

    March 17, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Karen Brown

    How dare the 55 signatories implie that they speak for ten of thousands of other Catholics! And to say that the bill does not include federal dollars for abortion shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the bill and congressial procedures.
    This group deserves to be excommunicted!

    March 17, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. JC

    May my father forgive them.

    March 17, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    FINALLY a Catholic that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Four Gospels instead of worrying about how many angels can stand on the head of a needle. Any # of fetus's aborted as a direct result of this Health Care Bill probably pales in comparison to the # of real people who will die w/out the medical care if Catholics help kill this bill.

    March 17, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Sue

    These nuns are just showing that they are hypocrits-–if they can support this Bill-–knowing that abortions will be covered and knowing that millions of senior citizens are going to have their medicare benefits cut.

    Has everyone seen Obama's approval rating on the Gallup site???? There are now more people who DISAPPROVE of Obama, than those who approve of Obama.

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    March 17, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Uncle Buck

    These are some great comments! I applaud these nuns for taking a strong and realistic stance on the subject. Sitting back and condemning healthcare for millions of people simply because of abortion (which is not funded) is idiotic at best and severely misguided.

    March 17, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. David

    Very courageous. They'll be speaking from hell pretty soon. Same with the Catholic Health Association. They need to realize that their primary responsibility is to be Catholic. You cannot be Catholic and support anything having to do with abortion.
    The bishops are speaking for the vast majority of Catholics in America. They represent us better than any representative in Congress.
    But go ahead! Pass this bill. Whether America likes it or not, pass it! We'll see what happens in November.

    March 17, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. vet in tx

    I remember a while back when it was the bishop's who opposed it and the proponents of the "lost cause III" were yelling atta boy and the left was screaming "what about seperation of church & state" on fellow Americans and look at how easily the stances reversed themselves.......interesting, very interesting.....This too....shall pass!
    Essayons America!

    March 17, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Scott in Atlanta

    I guess the Nuns are Nazi, Socialist, Commie, Freeloading, Constitution-hating, non-patriots too huh Rethugs???

    March 17, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Diana

    For the first time in a long time, I'm proud to be Catholic. WAY TO GO NUNS! Finally someone in the church with some brains.

    March 17, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. David in Houston

    John said, "Funny how the higher-ups place more value on the health of potential people than they do on the health of actual people."

    Unfortunate, but true...

    March 17, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Jon

    Nuns are smart.

    March 17, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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