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. MikeH

    TCM you ignorant stooge, how much does the health insuance industry pay you to post your nonsense?

    March 17, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Sam Smith

    I imagine the President, sitting in the Oval Office, looking at the TV and seeing – lets say – 1000 Tea Party protestors outside the White House. Then, slightly annoyed, he picks up the phone and calls in 10.000 NUNS to counteract. And then i imagine the boss of Faux News' head exploding because, for the life of him, he can't figure out where he should stand on this...

    March 17, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Chris D.

    I smell reform in the's beautiful.

    March 17, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Paul Ernest Show

    Isn't it amazing that anyone would want or attempt to stop a program that will save thousands of lives yearly, because of the possibility of funds being used for abortion. Healthcare for Americans will save more lives than our 1 million soldiers army. People who oppose this healthcare need to do their cost and benefit analysis. Am not a believer in abortions, but I love those who are already here, living and need care.
    Narrow-mindedness is the problem with these bishops. Am equally a Catholic, but seeing people die everyday is a concern to me and the numbers are too great to ignore.

    March 17, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. michaelam

    Oh, it has it been such a looooong time that I have wholeheartedly agreed with any position the Catholic Church took. But, this time....right on sisters!

    In the last several years, I've met more nuns that have influenced my life so greatly and I am a recovering Catholic. I only wish that the availabilty of nuns of this caliber were around when I was younger, I might have not done an about face and left the church.

    Changing the Priests and the Bishops or moving them forward into the 21st century I know will not occur in my sad!

    March 17, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Alex


    March 17, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    It really sickens me when people care more about HUMAN LIFE than they do MONEY.

    This is America, and here we make choices only if they produce a profit.

    Disgusting that Human Life is more important than money.

    Please, vote Republican. Show everyone around the world how here in AMERICA money is more important than human life.

    Be a Patriot.

    March 17, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. JDD

    Of course, the bishops are informed as well by healthcare professionals – many of whom also oppose the bill for intelligent, well-articulated reasons. As do tens of millions of citizens, at last count.

    Just because you put the work "catholic" in front of something does not mean that thing then automatically represents catholic teaching.

    March 17, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. strong

    Nobody should can what the roman catholic church says, it is just a pedophilic operation, rife with obscene corruption, moneywise and sexual aberrations, lies, complete dissention among its members and a stagnant, archaic outlook on life in the 21st century.

    Now, where was I ??

    March 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Awaal Oastad

    I cannot believe how arrogant these Republicans and the Democrats are who are opposing his bill. It's a many steps forward to universal health care – that has been a goal for generations of American people – both Republicans and Democrats. What can you get from these uneducated people like Sarah Palin, Mike Huchabee, Rush Limbaugh, Joh McCain, George Bush, Dick Cheney etc. Unbelievable!!! These uneducated people do not have the degree of competencies to drive a country for sure. There can only be attack dogs.


    March 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Amy

    So many Americans need to WAKE UP!! It is amazing how seemingly few people realize what this messed up bill will do to our freedom? Not to mention how many more innocent lives will be killed by abortion??!!?? People in countries that have socialized medicine are looking @ us wondering what in the world we are thinking – to give up our freedom for an unknown result.

    You cannot be a true Catholic and fund abortion! Maybe these Nuns need to read Cannon Law a little closer!

    March 17, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Mike

    One of the major problems this country has is that Religious organizations can sway our government. Religion is usually wrong to begin with on most subjects and bases opinions off a guy that died 2000 years ago. Until we cut that plague called religion out of the government, our country will continue to fail and get worse.

    March 17, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. strong


    that 1st line should have read: nobody should "care".

    March 17, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. MikeH

    Oh Michelle, that's not really your name is it, it's really Billy-Bob or Dick Armey or some Republican liar like that.

    Nuns see the everyday suffering of the poor. Republican liars on the other hand live a life of luxury paid for by corporate lobbyists so long as they spread their corporate master's lies.

    I bow to these brave and coscientious women who speak with compassion not with greed like some of the right wing pukes posting here (like you TCM).

    March 17, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    What with the frenzied overreaction of the bishops, you'd think there was anti-pedophile legislation here.....

    March 17, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Sue


    I can spell just fine........Perhaps it is YOU that cannot spell--as all of my words were 100% accurate.

    Typical loony left liberal..........Attack the messenger, because you cannot dispute the message.

    As I said........Stupak is a Democrat and has been coming out publicly and saying that abortion will DEFINITELy be covered under this Bill. I "believe" that he said it is on Page 270 of the Bill.

    Not only did he say that abortion IS covered under the Bill, he said that the Democrats even want to INCREASE abortions in our country--as they do not want to pay for any more babies.

    Just like the Democrats want to cut the money/benefits for senior citizens, mentally/physically handicapped, very sick, etc.---as these groups will cost more money--and not pay into the system through their taxes.

    These were also the very first steps of communists/marxists/socialists in other countries as well.

    And, please check out Obama's approval rating on the Gallup site!!!!

    March 17, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Wayne

    Don't Nun's work in hospitals? I've never seen a bishop change a bandage. Maybe we should listen to them.

    March 17, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. greenfish

    Go for it Sisters!

    March 17, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Marty, FL

    Yes, please open your eyes to see what actually IS in the bill to avoid the two lies in your post:

    1. READ Senator Nelson's amendment to strenthen the Hyde language for no federal funds for abortions. The good nuns are correct here.

    2. Malpractice reform IS in the bill, too. Please READ Section 6801.

    March 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |

    shame on the nuns who call themselves catholic,and believe in abortions which is in the health care.I will never support funding for their retirement,they should be banned for being nuns.shame on them........................................................

    March 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. maine liberal

    in 2005 according to the CDC there were roughly 820k abortions. the average price 430 dollars. total cost about 350 million.

    abortion is a choice, is legal and constitutional.

    if you dont like it dont get one. anyone with a penis doesnt get a vote on this.

    March 17, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. K in CA

    Jesus(the Zombie version) - Very creative (5:12PM ET) post. The sarcasm was VERY dry. Given the number of people who don't really comprehend sarcasm, I'm a little worried about how many people might be whole heartedly agreeing with your "literal" comments. 🙂

    March 17, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. wait a minute

    men can say whatever they want, but it is the women or nuns who are taking care of the sick and poor. And, they can no longer stand the despair they see every day in America.

    If you truly love life, you will support medical care for all.

    March 17, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    The problem with the “Right to Life” movement is that none of the supporters of it have actually read Roe V. Wade. Once you read it you will realize it is a right to life case – the right to the mother to protect her life. Pregnancy is, and always has been, deadly. As such, women must have the privacy right to be treated by their doctor in the interest of protecting their life, not to mention emotional and psychological issues which people should also keep their noses out of as well. The reason many church leaders do not agree with Roe v. Wade is because their view is that women’s lives are not as valuable as “potential-life.” Therefore, the “Right to life” leaders are really anti-choice but more anti-women rights, which brings us back to the church....

    March 17, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Michelle


    I will never thank God for healthcare reform, at least not this bill. It will cost my family and yours because it will come to a point due to their will not be enough doctors to take care of everybody, longer wait times to see a doctor which means that cancers and disease will not be detected in time to save a life. If you don't think that your healthcare cost is going to go up than you are crazy!!

    By the way Dano you get the facts right about healthcare reform, you need to stop watching all the liberal media. They aren't giving you the true facts.

    March 17, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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