Praising the Senate Health Bill: Worldly Wisdom or Nunsense?

Chuck Donovan /

As the beneficiary of 16 years of Catholic education, eight of them under the tutelage of the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, I am inclined by habit to nod in swift concurrence whenever the good sisters speak. Not today.

A letter released yesterday by 60 leaders of Catholic women’s religious orders argues that the Senate-passed version of health care reform does not provide for funding of elective abortion and is thus the “REAL [capitalization in original] pro-life” option. The Catholic bishops, the non-sectarian National Right to Life Committee and, this morning, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious strongly disagree.

The dispute has emerged with greater force after it became clear last week that any commitment by the Democratic leadership in Congress to “fix” the Senate bill’s defective abortion limitation language was unenforceable – a piecrust promise. Not only would the Senate’s traditionally stronger corps of anti-Hyde amendment votes ensure defeat of any abortion language fix, but 41 Republican senators signed a letter to oppose any policy-making on the reconciliation bill that would ferry the fix to enactment – a pledge that clearly would include the doomed abortion limitation. (more…)