Blessed be the nuns

This is a biggie, which no doubt will get them all  into more trouble with the vatican.  It’s also 4-days old news, but it may have made Stupak’s change possible.  From the NY Times:

Catholic nuns are urging Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s health care plan, in an unusual public break with bishops who say it would subsidize abortion.Some 60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns Wednesday sent lawmakers a letter urging them to pass the Senate health care bill. It contains restrictions on abortion funding that the bishops say don’t go far enough.

The letter says that ”despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.” The letter says the legislation also will help support pregnant women and ”this is the real pro-life stance.”

Maureen Dowd has a shrewd column, advising Stupak that the nuns have the moral authority now, despite his view that they are not the official voice of the Church.  Here is a  longer and more recent discussion of the nuns v. the legislators who oppose the bill.

As far as I can  see, Stupak and Pelosi have reached some agreement, the details of which are not yet available.  I am concerned that it will include further restrictions on abortions in one guise or another.

6 thoughts on “Blessed be the nuns

  1. I think that’s right, JJ. My guess is that plenty of people in the Stupak bloc really wanted to sign onto the bill, so he just went ahead and went for a fig leaf, so it looked like he got something.

    I watched the press conference, and reporters were basically asking, “uh, does this actually do anything?” And he was like, “Yeah! it affirms that the bill doesn’t do some things I don’t like.” No suggestion that it changes policy. Also, the bishops are disappointed, which is always a good sign.

    Anyway, Nancy wins again :)

  2. My understanding as well is that it adds no new restrictions that were not in the senate bill. The senate bill obviously has more restrictions than I would like, or most of you would like, but the XO doesn’t seem to go any further.

    To affirm what the ethical werewolf said, basically it seemed to play out like this. Stupak et al obviously were originally trying to leverage for stronger abortion restrictions originally (like he got in the original house bill). Then it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, so he was hoping it could pass without him. When it became clear that wasn’t the case, the XO is basically political cover for him to be able to vote for the bill.

  3. I found it odd that the NY Times was so vague about the nuns. For those who are interested in putting names and people to the actions, while there were a lot of people involved, the letter effort was headed by Network, whose executive director is Sister Simone Campbell of the Sisters of Social Service. The letter was put together to support a similar letter put forward a few days before by the Catholic Health Association, which is headed by Sister Carol Keehan of the Daughters of Charity. The Network website has a text of the letter, including the signatories.

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