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. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    These Nuns are Heaven sent.

    March 17, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. David

    Once again, a bunch of nuns are in disagreement with the church, and being vocal about it.

    March 17, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Bev

    Amen!!! No church has the right to dictate what's in a health bill. Period. About time someone had the guts to stand up for what's right.....

    March 17, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Cathy in AZ

    Abortion will not be covered under this bill and I am not sure what the Bishops don't understand about that. I would think the Church has other things to think about, i.e. cleaning up their own mess than to comment on this.
    It is imperative the Untied States has Health Care Reform and the Bishops ARE NOT speaking for the majority of Catholics in America. I know, I am one!

    March 17, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    "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"

    And YOU are the ignorant moronette with the lack of understanding!
    Too much Fake News? Did you miss your morning allotment of pablum fed to you as "sound bites" that your functioning singe brain cell could comprehend?

    There is no provision in the Senate bill for federal funds to be used for abortions, which of course, are legal medical procedures in this country, but if women are in the streets rioting, as a male it dos not apply to me.

    March 17, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Lee

    Pretty sure none of those nuns are guilty of pedophilia either. Nice new face for the Catholic Church.

    March 17, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. JenJoan

    I have been a non-practicing Catholic for 30 years. This move by these courageous women lifts my spirit! Thank you! Having just lost my health insurance, I am forced to pay COBRA to cover two type 1 diabetics in my family. Because i can't let their insurance expire, or they would become pre-existing and lose future coverage, my husband and I can't pay our mortgage for the first time in our lives. It's a horrible feeling but health needs to come first and the extra $1300 we have to come up with every month is a struggle that's taking us down a bad road. There are many more like us. America needs to be courageous and embrace health reform – even in it's diluted current state. I'm very embarrassed by the 'Tea Party' and other selfish and narrow-minded groups like them. I APPLAUD the nuns.

    March 17, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Dan

    this is bar-nun the best news to come out of the church in a long time

    hahahahahahahahahahaha... heh

    March 17, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Dar

    You Dems are so funny, first you curse the ground that christains walk on and now you praise them for doing something wrong. Whos the real devil here?

    March 17, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. JS

    Thank you, sisters! I was educated by nuns, and they were such a powerful influence over my life. I am proud that these Catholic women have given their support to something that so obviously reflects a caring attituted towards their fellow human beings. They are to be commended for going against the church hierarchy.

    Next thing we need– women priests!!!

    March 17, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Rick in AZ

    Isn't this the same church that routinely molests young boys and have been doing so for centuries? They cover up these disgusting practices by transferring Priest to new hunting grounds. They then claim to be a "moral authority". Hypocrite is just too mild a word for these Bishops.

    March 17, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. tpbco

    NO special deals for unions. NO special deals for Nebraska. NO special deals for Louisianna. NO special deals for Florida.

    Gives us exactly the same deal that congress gets (remember they are EXEMPTED from this plan)....


    March 17, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Marty, FL

    God bless you. It is a moral imperative to help provide health-care for our fellow Americans with no coverage, pre-existing conditions, etc.

    Let's get it done for America!

    March 17, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. TCM

    more propaganda....this bill will finish breaking the financial back of the country, as planned by Ayers, Soros, through Pelosi and Obama...then, we'll begin rebuilding the country as a socialist nation...since all other socialist nations have worked out so well....yessir, your entire life will be dictated by an inexperienced, nonUScitizen......put in place by a majority of entitlement leeches who have never held a job...way to go, liberals!

    March 17, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Emerald Laughter

    Let see... Bishops that protect child-molesters... yea there's a group that is worth listening too... NOT!!!

    March 17, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Chad

    Burn in hell? You Chatholics are so funny. I bet I could line up 10 catholics, disect their lives and find some hell worthy offenses bouncing around in all their closets (that they haven't repented to)...and lately that would go double for the preists!! Obviously, there is no way I can prove my assertion but it is my opinion. I remember being in college and hearing my girlfriends roomate preach about how all gays and abortion receipents were going to she herself was practicing pre-marital sex, using birth control.

    March 17, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Francjue

    Where were these moralists bishops when their subordinates were raping and sodomizing children? Paying hundreds of millions in hush money, bankrupting their dioceses and ignoring the emotional, spiritual and physical destruction of young people. I thank the nuns for taking the high ground and showing these hypocrites the way. May God save their souls.

    March 17, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. annie s

    Finally, Christians acting like Christians! Jesus clearly would have been on the side of saving 44,000 lives each year, those who now die needlessly thank to lack of or insufficient insurance.

    March 17, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. InlandEmperor

    Thank God....maybe we need to look more closely at allowing women to become priests. At the same time...allowing priests to marry.

    March 17, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. jm for sc

    Sue, abortions are no more covered in this bill than it was before. When the mother's health is at stake, an abortion is some times necessary. People need to stop hiding behind abortions in every election. You can not legislate people morals.

    Why is it that Republicans are so concern about abortion but applauds the death penalty? Murder is murder.

    As for me, I do not believe in abortion. So I want ever have or encourage others to have one. However, I believe that each individaul has the right to make their own decision as that is how God treats us. God does not make us do anything, he gives us a choice.

    Abortion can not be the determination to whether millions of people who are in need of health care recieve it.

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

    As far the Catholic Bishops, who are really Republican supporters, is is okay for priests to be gay? I know some who are. What did the bible say about that. We can select certain areas of the bible to live by, we must live by all 66 books.

    March 17, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Al-NY,NY

    David March 17th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

    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.

    well David, I guess about 51% of current Catholics are not "real" then according to your narrow minded parameters because the majority of Catholics support "choice" in some form or another. Anything to say now??

    March 17, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. TCM

    Rick in AZ – there are just as many molesters in other's just that the liberal, atheists who run the media want to discredit any ressemblance of God, so when they have an opportunity to throw mud at the church, they do so....Islam have far more child molesters...but, the media's afraid of them.
    The only way I would approve abortion is if an amneo test could show the fetus was a liberal....because, after all, most are born with only a brain stem; as evident in Pelosi and Obama....

    March 17, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. ART

    Amen to that enough of that abortion bull crap, pass the bill

    March 17, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. cjr

    the church needs to clean up its own mess – the church is no longer relevant and bishops have no right to tell anyone what to do! the nuns are finally making their voices heard!

    March 17, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Tam

    Listen to the women!!!! What do the old men know - never nurtured anything in their lives.

    March 17, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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