Nuns Backstab Bishops on Health Care, Demand Bill’s Passage

The health care reform controversy appears to have brought serious disagreements within the U.S. Catholic Church out into the open. Just days after the Catholic Health Association endorsed the Senate health-care bill, the Catholic Leadership Conference of Women Religious has also now publicly broken ranks with the US Catholic Bishops, demanding that the House of Representatives pass the abortion-promoting legislation.

The LCWR claims to represent 59,000 US Catholic nuns, and its letter delivered to Members of Congress on Wednesday urges them “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.”

“We join the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), which represents 1,200 Catholic sponsors, systems, facilities and related organizations, in saying: the time is now for health reform AND the Senate bill is a good way forward,” says the letter.

The letter states that the Senate bill “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.”

They furthermore add that the bill does nothing to harm longstanding conscience protections and will support of pregnant women. “This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it,” says the letter.

LCWR President Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, signed the letter along with 59 other women religious leaders, beginning with Sr. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun known for dissident views substantially at odds with Catholic doctrine.

The defections are a critical blow to the US Catholic Bishops Conference, which has fought doggedly to oppose the Senate health-care bill, and hold together a fragile coalition of pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who have been experiencing relentless political pressure and arm-twisting to abandon their opposition to the Senate bill rooted in concerns that the measure would lead to an increase in abortion.

The USCCB has refused to support the health-care bill on several serious grounds. The Bishops have demanded better conscience protections for health-care institutions and providers. They said they must oppose the bill until language from the Pitts-Stupak amendment prohibiting federal subsidies to health-care insurance plans that cover abortions is somehow adopted.

The Bishops have also demanded that the Senate provision giving seven billion dollars to “community health centers” be amended to exclude abortion providers before they can support the bill.

The way the Senate language is written, groups like Planned Parenthood specializing in sexual and reproductive health, esp. abortions, could qualify as community health centers – which the nuns say will “serve poor women and children” – and tap into those billions set aside.

But the actions of CHA led by Sister Carol Keehan may be providing the final shove to push ObamaCare across the finish line.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City excoriated Keehan and CHA for providing the political cover “for any member of the House who chooses to buckle under the pressure of the President and the Democratic leadership to accept government funding of abortion.”

The Archbishop emphatically stated that the US Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, and “every other creditable pro-life organization” realize that the Senate language will make abortion more accessible through federal subsidies.

Already, some pro-life Democrats are starting to wither in their objections to the bill and cave. The resolute Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) told National Review Online as reported Friday, that he was almost certain the White House had peeled away a couple of his twelve Democrats, who pledged to vote against the bill without Stupak-language.

Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), who formerly supported the Stupak amendment, announced Wednesday morning that he would now be supporting the Senate bill, saying he believed the Senate language sufficiently prevented federal money from subsidizing abortion.

Politico reported that Oberstar ironically slipped away from reporters into an elevator occupied by none other than Bart Stupak.

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  • dennisofraleigh

    Not unexpectedly, the mainstream press is having a field day with the fact that the Catholic Health Association and now the Catholic Leadership Conference of Women Religious have shaken their clenched fists in the faces of our American bishops. Many will interpret such defiance as evidence that the Catholic bishops are “out of touch” with American Catholics, that they are becoming more and more anachronisms whose authority can be flouted without any serious consequences. Should we be surprised? Pro-abort Catholic politicians have been given a pass for years in spite of their brazen and anti-Catholic positions (and corresponding voting record) against defending the innocent unborn.

    Then again, the two “Catholic” organizations in question have never been known to be outspoken defenders of the rights of the unborn. The USCCB is dead on in its analysis of this so-called “reform” bill. I wonder if these people have even read it. Or if they even care.

    The very fact that the Democratic leadership in Congress has consistently refused to add explicit language forbidding these monies to be used for abortion has to tell you the pro-abort politicos are up to no good. They WANT abortion providers to enjoy generous tax subsidies. Their abortion special-interest constituents have been pleading with them for years to rescind the Hyde amendment and reverse the Mexico City policy. Now, not only will they get enjoy a windfall at taxpayer expense, but we’ll now face the prospect of government-run killing centers spread all over the USA, courtesy of the new Department of Big Health.

  • lalvarezjr

    Thank God for the good nuns. You are an example to us all. Frank, open discussions of issues that affect the Catholic community, specially on such vital issues as healthcare are a blessing. The Bishops, although authoritative in their pronouncements, do not speak for all of us. I support healthcare reform, not because it is perfect, but because is the most Christian position. Thank you sisters!

  • hsmarc

    Besides the obvious pro-abortion/death/darkness shamelessly hidden in this bill all anyone needs to know is this. Why has every attempt to make Congress subject to the same provisions as the populace? Anyone supporting this attempt to make our Nation a socialist state cannot mount any kind of credible defense to this question.

  • LarryW2LJ

    It seems to me that more and more, we are headed towards schism in the United States. There really DOES seem to be two churches here. The Holy Roman Catholic Church and the American Catholic Church. The former, of which I count myself a member, is entirely faithful to the Magesterium. The latter are what we often refer to as the “cafeteria Catholics”. They choose to remain faithful only when it suits them.

    Maybe the coming influx of Anglicans is just what we need. People who have experienced a “Church gone wild” and are yearning to return to the Truth.

  • mrsnelson

    lalvarezjr, in what way are these ‘good’ nuns? What is ‘good’ about open defiance of our bishops (not in keeping with a vow of obedience). “Frank, open discussions of issues that affect the Catholic community” are fine, but when we are making decisions in the realm of faith and morals (as we are in regards to abortion), we need to defer to the Church. If our views are not in keeping with the Catholic leadership in these areas, we need to examine our reasoning. Vow or not, ALL Catholics are to grant obedience to Christ’s Church to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom.

  • bobmexico

    I can not find in my heart forgiveness of the Fathers, who molested the children. Nor can I now attend a Catholic Church knowing the Nuns support ABORTION! I believe the Church must turn away from supporting the Devils goal.

  • lkeebler

    The timing of the Health Care Bill vote and the media’s attack on the Pope is no coincidence. They are trying to bully and intimidate the Catholic Church and drum up any “liberal” (rebellious Nuns) Catholic support they can get to weaken the power of the Bishops statements regarding their refusal to support the Bill. I have strong thoughts about the “abuse cases” as I am sure many do, but the bullying, bribing and intimation tactics of the present administration and their Godless offspring is very telling. It seems to me the devil would like nothing better then to get on inside of the Church to weaken it so he can crush it from the outside. We must support the Catholic Church, not abandon it. Pray for the vast majority of the Church who are Godly men and women, who are devoted servants of God. The Catholic Church is so rich in the good it has and is doing and of devoted Priests and lay people. Pray for the Church.

  • mp2

    Most people overwhelmingly oppose Obamacare, for a variety of good reasons. Health care reform is needed, but not Obamacare.  Political religious who speak out & campaign against the church’s teachings should either start their own church (as they have done historically) or shut the heck up and pray for guidance.  Its people like that, be they wayward nuns or radical priests, who are trying to destroy the church from within.  There is no law saying they have to agree with the Vatican, but there is no law saying they must remain Roman Catholics either.  They can join the Episcopal Church, which undoubtedly supports their more radical views. Or maybe they should just duly note what radical views have done to that church. 

  • Wow, were they suckered.