Catholic nuns, in an unusual split from the powerful Catholic bishops, came out in favor of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, offering potentially important political cover for antiabortion Democrats still on the fence.
Nearly 60 nuns from orders they say represent 59,000 Catholic sisters, signed on to a letter urging House-passage of the Senate health care bill and declaring, “the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.”
“The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all,” the nuns wrote.
The letter comes as even top White House officials concede the abortion issue remains the most vexing. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee oppose the Senate bill. They say the language on abortion is not stringent enough to ensure that federal funds would not subsidize private insurance plans that pay for abortions. That has put a dozen or more Democrats on the fence who had approved a House health care bill with tougher abortion restrictions.
You can read the full text of the letter here.