Do you think the healthcare reform bill will squeak through? And what do you think of the Catholic nuns opposing the bishops?
House Democrats still don’t have the 216 votes they need to pass the healthcare bill, but they gained a little ground this week, adding two new votes to the “yes” column. Both additions are Midwestern Democrats: Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, who originally opposed the bill, and Dale E. Kildee of Michigan. Kildee is rated strongly pro-life by the National Right to Life Committee. According to media accounts, the restrictions on abortion in the Senate bill are acceptable to him.
They are also acceptable to NETWORK, an association of leading Catholic religious sisters that claims to speak for 59,000 Catholic nuns. NETWORK is a social justice lobby that calls itself “a progressive voice within the Catholic community that has been influencing Congress in favor of peace and justice for more than 30 years,” according to its web site.
NETWORK sent a letter this week to all members of Congress, urging them to “cast a life-affirming ‘yes’ vote when the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) comes to the floor of the House.”
Here is their interpretation of the abortion restrictions in the Senate version of the bill: “… despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. 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 letter ends with the statement: “For us, this health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.”
The position advocated by this association of Catholic nuns contradicts the opposition to the bill by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Scroll down to see yesterday’s post on the bishops’ statement.)
Whose side do you come down on? The Catholic nuns represented by NETWORK or the Catholic Bishops?