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. G. Clare

    First - where were the nums (just like the priests and the church) when the priests were molesting little kids? (FYI - I'm catholic so not against the religion). I'm not saying they don't have a point of view - but would have really loved a more sincere "message" when their own church was seemingly "okay" with pedophilia.
    Second - the bill itself. In reading it, you'll find that it proposes that actions be overseen by either another government agency or another agency/committee/working group be established to oversee actions - and there are lots of actions. Considering how poor the goverment does on so many governance issues and on implementation (except the military), TSA, IRA, FDA, USDA, pick anyone you want - do you really think they can oversee anything? Plus - I pay twice in federal taxes compared to my private health insurance (on my own and not a company), and I get more value out of health insurance than taxes - that's for sure.

    March 17, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Terry From West Texas

    Let the Catholics clean their own house. These bishops could spend their time in better ways than trying to tell us what legislation to pass. They have no moral authority to make ethical proclamations, to judge others, or to decide what others should do and how others should behave.

    Nuns, I note, have been involved in no such scandals as have so many of the Fathers of the Church. Put the nuns in charge, and I'll listen to what they have to say. I never met a nun I didn't like.

    March 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. usualone

    These nuns are aware of the struggles of many and therefore they are thinking that something is better than nothing. Interesting that those tossing out the negatives about the new health bill are men; especially when women are more aware about their own health and face those issues.

    March 17, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. williams

    It is really surprising that American especially the republican are doing evil things in the name of God. They said they are christian, but they dont want to see their fellow citizen having a good life. I wonder what they really think is success. These republican think that success is been measured by the amount of money you have in the bank or by been a middle class or upper class. Nope. What is success ' success is being measure by how you improve the life of another person. They forgot also, is not not by their hard work or wisdom that gave them what they have. It is by the grace of God. As an African in Netherland, i cried when i saw this so call God people behaving the way they are doing. I want the Americans to know that, one thing is for sure, Health care will be pass and the economy of America will improve and the republican shall loose moore seats. Some times when i look at the faces of the republican, what i see on their faces is evil. Look at their leader very well, well the are talking. Immediatly they started talking their faces will change. May jehova help America people, let their eyes be open to see the pain they poor are going through.

    March 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. leonardofru

    I agree with Obama and the Dems. The more babies we can kill the better off we are.

    March 17, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Shelly

    It is really odd how men ( priests, senators, legislators etc) want control over womens'bodies. Let women along with their families and doctors decide what is right for them! Why are these men so paranoid about 'life' from conception to birth but not about those folks suffering from birth to death? Don't they have a right to life through better health care availability?
    Some of us are stuck on one issue....look at the larger picture. Move America forward, not backward!!!!

    March 17, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Ed

    But I'm not Catholic so why would I care what nuns and priests think?

    March 17, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Sr M

    Hmm. Beautiful to behold, the tone and language of America.

    The comments here reflect the reason why so many Catholics seem to have abandoned the Republican party. Hatred, bigotry, and racism virtually each one.

    I recommend everyone here get to know someone for whom this is a real issue, something beyond just politics. Talk to them. Try to understand and empathise.

    For God's sake...

    March 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    Oh and one more thing..It would be better for all if they put the nuns in charge for a while

    March 17, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. Term Limits

    I hope the Bishops put them in the place as Nancy Pelosi!

    March 17, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. S Callahan

    Personally, I haven't met a person yet who said we should not have health care. But, the ongoing concern is the massive expense and what it means long term to taxes; and for me, I took the President at his word about NO Federal dollars supporting abortion. For me, this is a creditibility issue.

    March 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. I am the Great and Omnipotent Wizard of Rush and I Say . . .

    What the nuns are telling us is . . .

    If you are a Democrat and vote "yes" on health care reform, the Republicans will attack you with the fury of the devil.
    If you are a Democrat and vote "no" on health care reform, the
    Republicans will attack you with the fury of the devil.

    See the difference?

    March 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Dianna Johnson

    Well now everything is out in the open: it is all about 'the haves & the have nots'. Why be concerned about those ppl and their short comings as long as 'I' am ok-right-duh-wrong! It appears that anything the pres is for, guess who is against it? I am never surprised at what goes on, it never stops and probably never will until Jesus comes again. Then everyone will have their chance to explain why they are NOT their brothers keeper. Seems like somewhere in history a government was overturned where heads went rolling away, wasn't there but I think it happened. This country, my home, we are always shooting ourselves in the foot. We tell all of our business to the world. They are just sitting by watching our demise. Home Sweet Home. I am here for the long haul.

    March 17, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Republicans are Repugnant Taliban

    Anyone who listens to the Catholic leadership on health care reform needs to get a life anyway, I cheer for the nuns, at least someone in the church has a clue to what reality is.

    March 17, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. chris

    i agree with marty from fl, michelle you really need to read the bill before you start talking, malpractice reform is in sec 6801 just like marty said. thats the probelm with you conservatives, you focus so much on destorying president obama and rhetoric that makes no sense. you need to focus on whats actually in the bill.

    March 17, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Health-care-for-all

    Tough choice.... let me see... do I go with a group of women who have devoted their lives to those in need or do I side with a bunch of pedophiles.... nah... I think I'll go with the nuns.

    March 17, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Thank you, Sisters, for your support!

    March 17, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Tram

    This is one time I wouldn't dare argue with a nun.

    March 17, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    "Sue" says, "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."

    What's your source? And there's a huge difference between people being "aware" of something and that something being a fact.

    Case in point: There are fundamentalist Christians who believe that dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time, all empirical, reproducible evidence to the contrary. Just because a majority of these people believe this – and would say this in a poll – doesn't make it fact.

    March 17, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    A question for "Sue": Do you currently have private health insurance?

    If so, does it cover abortion?

    If the answer is yes, then I trust you will drop it, since your premium dollars are funding abortion.

    And as a reminder, under the health care reform bill, you may keep your private health insurance, with its funding for abortion, if you choose to.

    March 17, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    "Sue" says, "I "believe" that Stupak said that the abortion coverage is listed on Page 270 of the Bill."

    Are you referring to HR 3962? Because Page 270 of that document addresses "Provision of Information" and has nothing to do with abortion.

    March 17, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    "Sue" keeps harping on about President Obama's approval ratings.

    Plenty of presidents – including (I'm assuming your beloved) Ronald Reagan – had lower approval ratings at this point in their presidencies, especially when they're choosing to tackle difficult problems.

    Besides, you Republicans love to trumpet polls when they support your ideas and dismiss them when they don't.

    Talk about hypocritical!

    March 17, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Here's a question for "Sue" and others of her ilk:

    Why would the Democrats pass a bill that would cut coverage for Seniors?

    Democrats have a history of supporting programs and initiatives that benefit people of all ages (they were the ones who, over the strenuous objections of the Republicans, created Medicare and Social Security in the first place).

    "Sue" is confusing the corruption and moral decay of her own party (the Republicans) with what the Democrats are trying to do.

    But then again, that's a typical Republican strategy: Say up is down, black in white, night is day. Confuse people and fill them with fear.

    Sooooooo pathetic!

    March 17, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. MikeH

    Gosh, when I post with no spelling errors CNN doesn't put them up, but when I leave out a lettr (like that) or misspell, they put up my posts. Hmmm...

    Anyway, looks like the Health Care Reform is a-gonna pass. Good job to all who worked so hard for this historic legislation. Gotta love those Nuns.

    To all you Right Wing Republican Pukes who are lie-spreading fawning sycophant toadys (like Michelle aka Mitch McConnel, and TCM), go eat Democracy.

    March 17, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. Mark

    I don't bishops or nuns telling me a thing about the health care bill.
    I'm intelligent enough to know it is a JOKE!!! and so are the democrats for trying to push it thru...

    March 17, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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