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. Lets all call Limbaugh and crash his computor system

    The nuns know the deal,they dont take payoffs.Its the same drunken 15 year old canadian kid on here everyday using fifty different names,thinking hes really fooling someone or swaying their opinion,I wish CNN would do something about the racist punk.

    March 17, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Danny


    I wasn't aware there was any liberal media left, only corporate owned news providers that are run by companies that dictate what news will be allowed to air. I suppose you think that FOX news is a legitimate news agency?

    March 17, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    @File under "Sarcasm"

    Google Congress. Thats' how one voice = thousands.

    But I agree with you anyway. We should not be letting 18,000 Americans live on our tax money.

    Now if we are sending them to die, like say Iraq, then YES use my tax money.

    But the thought of a child allowed to live because my tax money helped him get insurance, which helped him find that tumor before it was too late, just DISGUSTS ME!

    Money is always greater than human life. You would learn that if you were a REAL AMERICAN like me and Sarcasm. We got ours, too bad you weren't born into a upper middle class white family.

    Not my problem.

    March 17, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Allen in Hartwell GA

    If the Republicans wanted to ban abortion they had 12 years of being in charge of Congress, six of which included a Republican president. Fact is, they no more want to ban abortion than ban guns. For them abortion is a hot button issue that they drag out to solicit campaign contributions and get votes from their conservative (but naive) Christian base.

    It's about time someone from a religious organization showed some understanding and decided it wasn't worth throwing away the apple because there was a small spot on it.

    March 17, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Sue


    Believe me, I read enough.........However, unlike you, I do not get all of my information from MSNBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, etc.


    So what, I left a letter off.........What is the big deal.

    As I said, the loony left will attack the messenger--if they are not able to dispute the message or FACTS.

    The majority of senior citizens are DEFINITELY aware that their benefits are going to be cut---that is why numerous polls have indicated-–the majority of senior citizens no longer support Obama or the Democrats.

    However, in 8 months, the truth/reality will be right in your face-–as the Democrats are going to get clobbered in November.

    Also, for those who commented on the Scott Brown article.......There was just a recent poll-–80% of Massachusetts citizens support Scott Brown and the job that he is doing!!!!

    March 17, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. AndyBlue

    Go Obama, Go Obama.... Go Catholic Nuns, Go Catholic Nuns.

    The bishops are so busy molesting kids or moving fellow priests and bishops around they are out of touch with reality.

    As for you "Teabaggers...... You will be remembered as the fools of this decade who were so easily led by Fox (fraud) news talking heads. Thats pretty pathetic.

    The best part is everyone is making money off the teabaggers but the teabaggers. LOL!!!

    March 17, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Marlene the Dream

    I think typical Americans who oppose the bill should really step back and take a hard, objective look at the people who most publicly denounce it and why:

    1) Republicans in general – politically motivated and single-minded, they want to start over and pass another one so they'll get the credit for finally overhauling the system. They had many years and didn't try, and this one's been debated for a year – no one is shoving it down any throats as they love to say.
    2) Rush and Glenn – sensationalism, ratings, see # 1 above.
    3) Big pharmaceutical and insurance companies – profit, hands deep in pockets of #1.

    The ambition and obstructionist actions of many Republicans is embarrassing for our country. Gotta give credit to Lindsey Graham for at least trying.

    Don't you wonder why the vast majority of healthcare providers support the current bill? This bill isn't perfect but our system is on its last legs and they know it better than anyone. As do these Catholic sisters.

    As a side note, I find it very sad that some people in this country are so disrespectable to President Obama. President, not "Mr." I don't recall people calling President Bush "Mr."

    March 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Chad

    Lot's of people claiming facts about heathcare, yet not a lot of qualification. Just saying...

    March 17, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I am not going to argue with a NUN !!!! They know what is right .....I agree with them. Bishops sort of get oersonnally involved in things that they shouldn't(affairs with parishioners girls and boys, etc) whereas Nuns are prettty clear all the time. You go girls.

    March 17, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. AndyBlue

    2,200 Iraq and Afghanistan vets died this past year because they didnt have health insurance all while Republicans sat on their hands.

    Havent we screwed over these Soldiers and Marines enough America?

    Because of our stupidity and fear we spent the lives of almost 5,500 Soldiers aned Marines.

    Stupidity and Fear.

    We disgraced ourselves.

    March 17, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Hip hip hooray for the NUNS

    Let the Bishops and Priests go to jail for molesting our children. The nuns want to help the children live a healthy life.

    March 17, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    Maybe the women need to be running the Catholic Church, not the men.

    March 17, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    When the word "abortion" comes up .... mouths open – ears close – and nothing is accomplished. Have nuns read the provisions of the bill? It does not include federal money for abortions.

    March 17, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Dave L

    Amen Sisters-I just never got why protecting the lives of people who have been born and need health care is less important than the most extreme efforts to distance health care from abortion of an unborn fetus. Maybe the bishops can ask their Pope what he thought about protecting life when he was manning an anti-aircraft gun for the Wehrmacht against American, Canadian and British air crews–Its always nice to see someone in a big organization stand up against its prevailing hypocrisy–again, Amen Sisters.

    March 17, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Ruth

    Let's put these nuns in congress!

    March 17, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. AndyBlue

    Republicans are ok with American tax payers fronting the bill for "socialized healthcare" in ISRAEL.

    Republicans are ok with American tax payers fronting the bill for "socialized healthcare" in IRAQ.

    Republicans are ok with American tax payers fronting the bill for "socialized healthcare" in AFGHANISTAN.

    Republicans have spent so much American taxpayer dollars on healthcare for other countries citizen yet they seem to hate Americans.

    Why is that?

    March 17, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Ruth

    Let's put these nuns in congress.

    March 17, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I'll argue with a nun. I'll argue with 55, as things stand.
    They may speak for their order and vocation, but not the entire Church. As things stand right now we must trust the Bishops' position.
    They've actually read the Bill, to those of you who would
    confuse the issue by bringing scandal into the Bishops' competency to comment on this situation and
    to the sexists who claim as celibate men they have no business discussing the Life issue let me remind you: the entire body of the supreme court who decided Roe v Wade enabling legalized abortion was made up of men so your argument really has no grounds. I watch and wait and will side with the Bishops in trying to kill this bill and encourage my fellow Catholics to do the same, unless things change.

    March 17, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. valwayne

    Wow, Catholic Nuns publicly opposing the Bishops and supporting a bill that will pay for increased abortions in the country! Not something I expected to see in my lifetime!

    March 17, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. Vic of New York


    Eventually TRUTH rises above the din of lies. More so – the Catholic Church demonstrates there is room for growth and reason compatible with belief.

    This like so many other debunked RiGHT-Wing lies will eventually go into the history as rebuke of the decieptful ideologists.

    March 17, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Nathan in Ga.

    This is GREAT news. Health-care NOW!

    March 17, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. j

    Go Catholic Nuns! Maybe you can teach the Bishops a few things about social justice and equal access.

    March 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    Good for them. Most of us don't see what these women probably see on a daily basis. People who really need health care and can't afford it and those who have some but it's not enough.
    Funny how the nuns have a better understanding of human suffering and needs than those pesky bishops.
    I wonder if beck, maklin (or whatever her name is) and limberger are going to after them like they did the 11 year old boy whose mother died recently because she lost her job and health care.
    Only a big man (pun intended) tells a child that his mother "would have died anyway".
    Way to go repugnants!

    March 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Nathan in Ga.

    The nuns are teaching the Bishops. We need healthcare now!!!!

    March 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. annie against biased news

    Funny this little group of nuns seem to know more of what is or isn't in the government rationed hellcare bill than obama does! Simply amazing!

    March 17, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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