The Fruits of “The Network”

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It’s amazing how quickly President Obama’s “healthcare” reform has disappeared from the front pages. That’s too bad, since there’s much accountability yet to be had, including among some Catholics.

It was on March 21, the final Sunday of Lent, that Congress revolutionized American healthcare. Because the legislation did not explicitly forbid taxpayer funding of abortion, and constituted what Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) aptly described as the greatest legislative expansion of abortion in American history, the USCCB said the bill “must be opposed.”

And yet, even before a last-minute deal between President Obama and pro-life Democrats, who agreed to an executive order they claim will prohibit abortion funding, a group of nuns sent Congress a letter urging passage.

The group is called the Network, a self-described “progressive voice within the Catholic community,” whose slogan reads, “Network: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.” (Note: Please see my expanded article on this in the current issue of Catholic World Report, titled, “The 59,000 Nuns for Obamacare,” from which this commentary is taken.)

Unfortunately, the Network is not exactly outspoken in social justice for the unborn, who aren’t found in the sisters’ mission statement (www.networklobby.org) or among the 10-point “Issues on Network’s agenda,” a program ranging from “fair and just trade” to “wage equity,” from immigrants to the elderly.

As the vote on healthcare approached, the sisters delivered a letter. “Dear Members of Congress,” they wrote, “We write to urge you to cast a life-affirming ‘yes’ vote [on the] healthcare bill.”

But how could they support a bill so pro-abortion? “From our reading,” said Sister Simone Campbell, Network’s executive director, “there isn’t any federal funding of abortion.”

Really? The nuns actually believed that, even as their bishops and pro-life groups concluded otherwise?

Either way, they got what they wanted.

Now, it’s morally incumbent upon them to ensure abortion isn’t funded. Will they devote their lobbying prowess to that matter of justice?

We’ll be watching. By their fruits, we shall know them.

Dr. Paul Kengor

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Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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