Where's Stupak?

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Hattiip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Representative Joe Pitts (R. Pa) has introduced a new bill that bans abortion funding from ObamaCare.  It largely replicates the language of the old Stupak Amendment.  The bill has 57 co-sponsors and growing.  Thus far these real pro-life Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors:  Reps. Travis Childers of Mississippi, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Marshall of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Gene Taylor of Mississippi.  I salute each of them.  Each of them voted against the final pro-abort version of ObamaCare.  Bart Stupak and his “pro-life” Democrats who hid behind the fig leaf of the meaningless executive order in order to vote for ObamaCare, are of course not supporting this legislation.  I think this is significant.  ObamaCare passed.  From the perspective of a truly pro-life Democrat who supported ObamaCare, why not amend the law now to ban abortion funding?  Failure to support this legislation should finish the idea that such a Democrat  in Congress is in any sense pro-life.  This legislation should of course be a major voting issue for all pro-lifers in November

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6 Responses to Where's Stupak?

  • Don’t hold your breath on this one, Don.

  • Agreed Jay! 🙂

  • What concerns me is the total lack of concern by the USCCB bishops regarding all the other anti-Catholic (subsidiarity etc.)trash wrapped up in Obamacare.

    If I didn’t know better…

    And why was it that one of the three official bishops who finally (only after their joining Stupak allowed it to leave committee with an apparent imprimature) ended up opposing the bill was titled the “migrant” bishop? I thought it was about abortion not border issues? But then the Catechchism tells us that the laity is to decide upon immigration questions. And then there’s the silence about the death panels – the theft of (1/2 trillion) money for the health and care of the medicare class. I’ll never understand why the state (Caesar) is the first choice of these religion trained people. I also failed to hear a large USCCB protest when Obama suggested taking the tax benifit away from private charity economically forcing charity to become controlled by (Caesar)government’s business. Didn’t they ever hear John Paul’s admonition to be wary of the welfare state?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the construct and motives of this group. Millions of dollars in street money collected for the poor given by them to ACORN to help elect the most aggressively pro-abortion/infanticide president in history needs a serious investigation -not just an “oopps -sorry.” That didn’t work with the priest coverup and wont with the politics. And then there’s Notre Dame -the moral/political scandal of the decade?

  • Not that I have time, during lunch, to decrypt that mess…
    I’ll presume that someone who reads for a living has read it and thinks it would at least limit federal funding on abortions and provide abortion-free options for Catholics.
    That said, let’s return to the “myth” of the pro-life Democrat.

    If you have a couple of million in your bank account and heart, swelled with civic duty, perhpas you might think Congress or the Senate, or your state versions are the place yu can “do the most good.” So far, so-so.
    If you have swallowed whole the notion that Jesus will be mollified, during the promised Matthew 25 test at the conclusion of this life, by your demonstrated williingness to reach into the pockets of others to fund the many do-gooder programs that come up for a vote during your tenure; thereby sacrificing subsidiarity and free will on the altar of ever-dubious government largesse. If this is you, you obviously opt to run as a Democrat, albeit a conscientious “pro-life Democrat, and caucus with your party of choice- in order to do the most good with OPM.
    So, by the very fact that you win, go to DC, caucus with your fellow travelers, you help insure that it will be they who control the committees, they who elect the speaker of the house, they who set the table for the legislative agenda that will cause acts to land on the desk of the POTUS- and they who orchestrate any attempts to override irresponsible vetos by the Abortionist-in-Chief.
    So how was it you were going to do good without materially contributing to the expansion or continuance of the evil of taxpayer funded abortion (not just here- remember Mexico City)?

  • Call me crazy, but I would rather Rep. Joe Pitts walk up to these men and women and seriously engage them and try to win their votes.

    What’s more important? Verbal condemnation or their votes and not funding abortions? I’m not suggesting writing things off as if there is not an issue at all. But I think the order of business puts stopping abortion funding first and I happen to think some of the Democrats who voted for the bill would vote for this legislation if it hit the floor. Granted that they voted for the health care bill, I don’t think they are now pro-choice extremists no different than Pelosi.

    But in another sense — this legislation is dead until at least next January. I could see it (by a stretch of the imagination) passing in the House if it made it out of committee somehow and failing in the Senate.

  • Eric, I would love it if Stupak and some of the other Democrats who voted for ObamaCare would sign on to the bill. As Jay indicated above however, I am definitely not holding my breath.

Why is Cardinal George Silent about Abortion in the Current Health Care Bill?

Monday, January 4, AD 2010

When Cardinal George requested that pro-life Republicans vote for the Stupak amendment to the health care bill, he was shaming conservative American legislators that they need to stand up for what they claim in public.  Cardinal George discounted reasonable Republican objections  that this was just a ploy by Nancy Pelosi to get pro-life Democrats on board knowing full well that all pro-life language would be stripped in the joint chambers conference committee.

Was Cardinal George this naive to fall for this parliamentary trick?  Can we assume he isn’t this naive?

No, Cardinal George is not this naive because why would the Vatican choose him to lead a diocese?  The Vatican certainly takes its time to make wise and knowledgeable decisions don’t they?  The Holy Spirit guides them in their work, granted that this is done primarily through the teachings of the Church.  Though we can be reasonable enough knowing that the Vatican wouldn’t choose someone who is incompetent to be a shepherd to his flock.

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29 Responses to Why is Cardinal George Silent about Abortion in the Current Health Care Bill?

  • Well, this is no excuse for the Cardinal — but the Republicans who thought about not voting for Stupak were acting on a consequentialist impulse. For all they knew, Pelosi could have had the votes and by their miscalculation, a bill with Capps language could have left the chamber when it could have gone differently.

    You don’t vote “present” and leave the unborn undefended on the presumption that such a provision would be stripped from the final bill. That’s consequentialism. You vote for the provision because it is the morally right thing to do regardless of the circumstances. I agree with the Cardinal because the GOP was behaving according to a moral theory (one that they tend to follow a lot in my view) that is deeply flawed.

    The fact that the Cardinal has not used his position to make statements toward members of the opposite party is open and free for criticism.

    I just don’t think the Republican objections were reasonable — it was a strategy to fight the health care legislation by any means, to the point of compromising basic ethics.

  • Moreover the writer you cite — whose views obviously differ from my own — far from just being partisan in his presenation, which I have no qualms with per se, but it is obviously clear he has not done his homework.

    http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=99578

    Last I checked, the USCCB has not endorsed the final passage of the health care reform legislation. Actually, the opposite is true.

  • But I do believe the GOP was right to vote against it. The Dems simply didn’t have the votes to begin with. They went against their better judgment, but got out-foxed by Cardinal George.

  • Eric,

    I know the opposite is true, but why the silence on behalf of Cardinal George?

    What will the USCCB do if the bill passes with abortion being funded by the federal government? Will they oppose that one particular premise yet hail the rest of the bill as “good” for America? Splitting the difference, but compromising their moral authority and hence cause a scandal to the whole Church?

  • Well, I will maintain my civil disagreement. I think such a position incorrectly applies natural law norms. In fact, the angered response of pro-life organizations at the news of the GOP helping a pro-life measure sink was quite appropriate.

    The Democrats did not appear to have the votes, sure. But what if for some reason they did? And we did not forsee it? Who forsaw even after the legislation passed in the House that it would survive the Senate hurdle?

    I agree entirely with Represenative Pitts who after the legislation passed, together with pro-life House Democrats and Republicans, reiterated you do not play politics with human life. The unborn should not be subjected to some consequentialist political gamble to stop legislation that one opposes. You vote for the unborn and do everything within the restraints of the moral law to stop bad legislation. I think to act otherwise amounts to moral compromise.

  • Thanks for being civil!

    🙂

  • I have no idea. I’m not speaking in favor of Cardinal George. I am sometimes disheartened because I believe Republicans get a “pass” from pro-life Catholics often because of their opposition to abortion. So, I sometimes see such a thing as “finally.” On the other hand, when it stops for the other side that is problematic — we cannot have a double-standard, which is the very thing I oppose. So I am not defending the Cardinal in that regard — only in his initial criticism.

    The USCCB will surely speak out against the bill. I think they would actively in the Midterm elections advocate that Catholics be conscious of candidates’ position on that issue.

    If anything, the USCCB — if happy with the other provisions in the legislation — would only want the abortion language changed. In other words, roll back the abortion funding only.

  • wow, excellent post. Very revealing..and sad at the same time. If our Catholic leaders don’t stand up for the unborn, who will?

  • Eric,

    I’m with you on that.

    Though the USCCB has criticized the current bill in the Senate, so they deserve that recognition.

    I’m waiting to see the final outcome and see how they respond.

  • Chicago political blogger Tom Roeser has long asserted that the Archdiocese of Chicago is for all practical purposes a subsidiary of the Cook County Democratic Party (which he refers to as “The Squid”). Perhaps that would explain why Cardinal George saves his criticism for Republicans?

    Roeser is a very conservative Catholic (politically and liturgically) and I don’t always agree with everything he says, but he may be onto something here. Here is a recent post by him on this topic:

    http://www.tomroeser.com/blogview.asp?blogID=25127

    I note that the two staunchly pro-life auxiliary bishops he names as having voted in the Republican primary are the two most often mentioned as prospective candidates for just about every episcopal vacancy that has come up in the last few years….

  • Eric,

    I agree that one can never vote for the creation or increase of abortion funding. Moral prohibitions bind, as the latin says, semper et pro semper. But must one always vote against such funding, if one can absent oneself from voting at all? Moral exhortations don’t bind the way prohibitions do. You can never steal, but you can refrain from making a contribution to the poor at times. You can never contracept, but you don’t have to be trying to get pregnant at every moment.

    You raise an important point, and I think it’s worth discussing.

  • Strategically, the Republicans should have voted against the amendmendment. However, the bill passing without the amendment would have placed them in an ethical dilemma and I can see whey they voted for it.

    My outrage is at Pelosi and the top Democrats for using the abortion issue as a bargaining tool to pass healthcare legislation. The bishops should be more outspoken about this point.

  • I don’t see the problem. The bishops opposed the House’s expansion of abortion, and the pro-life congressmen voted against it (actually, voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment which blocked it). The bishops again opposed it in the Senate, and were unsuccessful. When the final bill comes to Congress, if it increases abortion, the bishops (and, I hope, a sufficient number of congressmen) will oppose it.

    It’s not the bishops’ duty to anticipate political maneuvers. Indeed, if the bishops denounced the Stupak Amendment on the suspicion that it would be dropped in conference, that would only weaken their voices. They’ve been clear: nay on abortion coverage.

  • Where is it written that the bishops’ consciences must be represented by the USCCB? If every bishop wrote to the representatives and senators from his district and spoke to the people of his diocese, that would certainly have more effect than the words of the [arch]bishop of Chicago. As Abp. Chaput put it neatly “bishops should not be speaking to politicians. They should be speaking to their flock and the flock speaking to the politicians”.

    Cardinal George is not a sort of American pope.

    The problem, I suppose, is that our bishops have lost much of their credibility with the sheep because of the cover-ups in the sex scandals.

    As far as morality goes, it is the personal effort that counts with Our Lord, not indirect government roles. [“I gave at the office”]. Such problems are best solved locally and one by one.

  • Gabriel,

    I am pointing out he hypocrisy of Cardinal George’s actions, or non-actions.

    I don’t have any respect, nor do I recognize the legitimacy of the USCCB.

    I agree though that if the bishops would act more like ‘bishops’ rather than being someone’s friend or a Democratic Party groupie, they would gain the trust and respect of the laity and this country would be in a much better shape than it is now.

  • Lest anyone forget the USCCB sent out flyers to parishes across the country urging parishioners to oppose any healthcare plan that included abortion coverage.

    As Eric and other posters have also pointed out, the Bishops have been adamant about Stupak being included in the bill; this is as far as they have gone, and, frankly, is about as far as they can (and probably should) go, politically speaking. Questions about the intricacies of actual healthcare policy (will a public option work or not, etc.) are not “do or die” moral questions like abortion and euthanasia, but fall to the expertise of individual politicians to decide. It is best for the USCCB to remain nuetral on such matters while insisting that the allowance of any moral evil in the bill (abortions, etc.) impels a legislator to vote against it – which is exactly what they’ve been doing!

    Where is their any proof that Cardinal George is either for or against the House healthcare bill as passed? This article has nothing but speculation – where are the words of C. George himself that imply he supports the Pelosi bill? Did he ask parishioners to unconditionally support a bill that included the Stupak amendment? No. He merely asked that the lives of babies and their mothers take priority over political victories – hence the strong support for Stupak. Eric, Pinky, and Rep. Pitts are right. To vote “no” on Stupak as an amendment is to vote against the unborn – it’s placing a potential political victory ahead of the lives of the unborn.

    I have personally congratulated many people in the Chicago Archdiocese who worked with the Cardinal on this and I asked them to forward my accolades and gratitude to him. I find his actions to be heroic, not cowardly – partisan shill C. George is not, and this article is at best misinformed, at worst a calumny.

  • Andy K.,

    It’s interesting that you accuse me of speculation.

    I made a concerted effort to only report the facts, withholding my opinion.

    He was vociferous in demanding pro-life Republicans vote for the health care amendment, though he is dead silent when it gets revised in the Senate.

    And yes, you are correct, Cardinal George has been conspicuously silent about the bill.

    My speculations are reserved for the commbox. And I will only say he has continued to do nothing at all.

    And having the USCCB send out flyers is not the role of a bishop, ie, hide behind a bureaucratic organization.

    Where are our shepherds?

    Where is our Saint Ambrose?

  • Tito’s final question reminds me that we need to be *praying* for courageous bishops. Frankly, I think that’s the most effective avenue available to the vast majority of us.

  • Chris B.,

    I wish I could have said that.

    You’re right, lets pray for our bishops.

  • I’m with Eric and the Stupakites on this one. It’s hard to say what the result of trying to play it strategically would have been, but gutting the bill of a clearly-worded rejection of abortion would have been a recognized defeat for life.

  • These so-called health care bills are so horrible and anti-Christian and anti-American that abortion is not the only reason to oppose and destroy them. Since abortion is an intrinsically evil act it must be opposed no matter what political ploys are being used.

    To be in favor of these monstrosities is to discount the massive evil perpetrated by every government that has ever entered into this arena. It is foolish to think the National (oh, how I wish it were actually federal and respected subsidiarity) government we are burdened with will be any less evil.

    Cardinal George needs our prayers and it is prudential for us to ask our own bishop to condemn these bills with the politicians he shepherds. Cardinal George is one bishop he is not he bishop of the USA. The USCCB is useless organization.

  • I’m sorry, but this post is ridiculous.

    I don’t have any respect, nor do I recognize the legitimacy of the USCCB.

    OK? So? Good thing for Holy Church that Tito Edwards or Ryan Haber (me), despite all we know, aren’t heads over the Catholic Church.

    The simple fact is, as Eric pointed out, that to vote “present” on the Stupak Amendment would be a reprehensible parliamentarism worthy of our esteemed president. A rep can vote YES on Stupak and then NO on the final bill. That’s no problem, and no contradiction.

    Why hasn’t Cardinal George spoken out? I don’t know? I don’t have a bat phone to his office. Why does American Catholic seem to be so much more concerned with him than with some other bishop? What’s their deal? What has Cardinal George ever done to aid or abet abortionists? Where’s benefit of the doubt? Where’s Christian charity in interpreting others’ actions?

    Where’s a sense of deference to the men that GOD, not men, has ordained to lead his flock?

    Good grief. I’m gettin’ pretty tired of everybody knowing just how the Catholic Church should be shepherded. It’s really easy to do somebody else’s job. How armchair quarterbacks actually think they are actually helping anybody is entirely beyond me.

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for your charitable comment concerning my post.

    I have no deference to Cardinal George because he is not my shepherd, Cardinal DiNardo and Pope Benedict are my shepherds, but I do have deference to him as a leader of the flock. I hope he understands what his actions look like when he speaks out. He seems more as a vibrant supporter of health care as an ardent Democrat rather than a Catholic concerned for the well being of his flock.

    Plus Cardinal George spoke up, the only one of all the bishops that said anything to cajole the GOP to vote for the Stupak amendment.

    God bless you my brother in Christ,

    Tito

  • withouthaving seen,

    I guess avoiding parlimentarianism is good if the Supak language stays in the final version. The way the bill is being dealt with now I wouldn’t be so sure. And who’s to say that legislation down the road won’t put it in.

    As far as shepharding is concerned, teaching moral principles is properly the role of the bishops, applying it to the world is the proper domain of the laity. I think some criticism of the USCCB and, possibly, Cardinal George is warranted.

  • Lol, Tito, it doesn’t matter if he were the bishop of Timbuktu, he’d still be successor to an apostle and worthy of the respect of the likes me and you!

    I know that Cardinal George, much like the Church in general, gets trashed by all sides. That, in my opinion, wins him the benefit of the doubt from me.

    To clarify, when I wrote “this post is ridiculous,” I did not mean your comment in particular, Tito, but rather the initial article and the whole thread of follow-ups.

    Stupak and a number of others are threatening to kill the bill altogether if they can, rather than let it pass with abortion funding. Remember, reconciliation and closed-door meetings aren’t the final step. The suits on the hill still have to vote again and both houses have to pass it, and I see no reason why it will be a perfunctory vote in the House of Reps, where the Democrat coalition is shaky, to put it mildly.

    Phillip,

    The USSCB might very well need criticism, as might H.E. Francis Card. George. I know far less about their affairs than they do, and if I knew as much, I still would have a hard time seeing how Christ has ordained me to criticize his ordained ministers.

    Ryan Haber
    Kensington, Maryland

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for the clarification 🙂

    I was careful to point out what Cardinal George did in the post without offering an opinion.

    I placed my opinion only in the commbox because I still don’t know where Cardinal George’s heart is. Is it with the Democratic Party or is it in the Bride of Christ?

  • withouthavingseen,

    Criticize in a constructive way as the non-ordained Catherine of Sienna did the Avignon pope. Truth is truth. The laity has a better sense of the secular order. If there is a problem that the laity discerns in the prudential judgments of the clergy as relates to the secular order, they are within their licit Catholic rights to criticize those prudential judgments of clergy.

  • Thank you for this good commentary. I have been contemplating some of these questions, too. I have written to my Bishop and the USCCB, but there is only silence. Our Parish has sent out a FAX to all the Bishops with our concerns of the health care reform. To my knowledge, only one Bishop responded to the Fax. I have pondered why there is only a handful of bishops who have spoken on the the Church’s teachings of subsidiarity in regards to the health care bill and government take-over. The Stupak Amendment is not 100% pro-life and there is more than abortions which is very troubling in the House and the Senate health care bills. Should not the Bishops be concerned with all the life issues in the health care reform i.e. abortions, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, rationing, sterilization, teen clinics run by planned parenthood, contraceptions, cloning, or any injustice? Certainly, health care can be improved, but it does not require a government take over with individual mandates and loss of freedoms. Any health care reform should do no harm before doing any good. With all the haste, bribery and lack of transparency, I would certainly think this 2000 page plus health care reform is to be avoided. September 2009 I went to a town-hall meeting and my Congressman said this was not about health care but about government take-over and control. I believe he is right.

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Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment.  In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here is their released statement in its entirety:

December 9, 2009

Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform

Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form

Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail

BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE

TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT

WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”

Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”

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67 Responses to Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

  • Personally, I think it is dangerous for the Bishops to weigh in on most prudential matters. Of course, they should oppose any legislation that would advance abortion, just as they should weigh in on all matters of grave morality. But while appropriate access to health care may have a moral component, whether a particular approach would be effective or most effective is well outside the charism of bishops. I’m far more interested in what health care economists say, as well as insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and medical organizations. Big and small pharma too. And big city hospitals that serve the poor. All are stakeholders and have knowledge. But the Bishops and their staff don’t know any more than you or me. They just have impulsive policy preferences based on political bias just like you and me.

  • I think the bishops are fully invested in the process since they seem to be wedded to “universal coverage” in health care. Though I disagree on their method of implementing God’s Kingdom here on earth, at least they found “a” voice somewhere.

    Hopefully they’ll be more unified in the next election cycle when it comes to protecting the unborn among us.

  • Amazing that this ammendment was defeated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Maybe the Bishops could take note of that also.

  • Phillip,

    Good catch.

    It may be an omen that the bill will be defeated in order to protect the most vulnerable among us.

    Or it could mean something else.

  • Tito – I thought you didn’t recognize the authority of the USCCB. Only when they agree with you I guess?

  • Michael I.,

    The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    So I choose what I like from the USCCB.

    I only adhere to Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition.

    Unlike you that adheres to Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, and Bono.

  • The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    This is not true, Tito, for the millionth time.

    And I’m not a fan of Bono.

  • I dunno … some of Bono’s earlier music is ok.

  • How exactly is the USCCB an authority of Catholic teaching?

  • Notice that Michael I. didn’t deny his adherence to Karl Marx.

  • Tito, I noticed and wasn’t at all surprised. No big scandal in my mind, since I have several misguided Marxist friends. We avoid politics and economics and just drink. I don’t see how Marxism can be squared with Catholicism though. But perhaps the USCCB has an authoritative teaching on how to do that. 😉

  • Although I would not call myself a Marxist, I’ve learned from Marx. As has the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the human race.

    Mike – Um, because the USCCB are nothing but the bishops (you know, the successors of the Apostles!) in the united states.

  • Perhaps you and Tito would like to have a conversation about Marx, and about which of his ideas I agree with and don’t agree with, and whether or not the ideas I agree with are in opposition to Church teaching or whether the Church herself acknowledges said ideas?

    Or maybe you both can throw around the name “Marx” and the term “Marxism” without actually getting specific?

    Or maybe Tito will simply delete my comments when I ask him to actually get specific and show us how much he actually knows about Karl Marx?

    What about Chomsky, Tito? Can you explain to me what elements of Chomsky’s work are in opposition to Church teaching? Perhaps u.s. foreign policy is sacred and unable to be criticized?

  • The magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop. I think the document Apostolos Suos addresses this question. See here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • Michael I.,

    With the answer you provided so vague, vacuous, and open-ended, I’m surprised you haven’t found common cause with Mein Kampf or that writer.

  • It seems Michael is trolling.

  • Phillip – If you actually read Apostolos Suos and the relevant ecclesial documents, you will find that the issue is much more complex than your claim that “[t]he magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop.”

    Tito – You’re not making any sense. Could you rephrase for me? What was that about Hitler?

  • Michael I.,

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Of course its much more complicated than that. But of course, when one reads Apostolos Suos, one sees that a single dissenting vote by a bishop on a doctrinal matter ends the authority of the Conference and the matter must be referred to Rome. An individual bishop has that degree of authority in that he can stop the entire conference.

  • It is important to read the relevant ecclesial documents as well, including theological discussion on these matters. AS makes some interesting (non-infallible) claims about the authority of bishops conferences which are indeed in tension with, say, significant portions of Vatican II (which carry more weight than AS). AS strikes me as awfully mathematical, as if one rogue wacko bishop could threaten the authority of the teaching of the rest. Does not strike me as a very Catholic approach to authority.

    So yes, AS is important, but other documents are important too. And it’s important to read AS in its entirety and in context.

  • Of course AS can be read as a development of doctrine (non-infallible perhaps) though with greater magisterial teaching than theologians. As the theologian Cardianl Dulles noted, AS is the effort of the Church (read magisterial authority) to place the authority of conferences in its proper context (a limited one) which is only a reflection of individual bishops authority. This is the proper context.

  • Of course that would presuppose that much of what the USCCB does is pronouce on doctrinal matter. Actually most, such as its support of current health care legislation with three provisions, is doctrinal. It is of course not. It is prudential. Thus laymen can licitly disagree with their position in regards to the legislation in general.
    What is doctrinal is the USCCB’s defense of traditional Catholic teaching that abortion is an intrinsic evil. Thus Tito is on good ground in his position.

  • Funny, the way folks use the word “doctrinal” to draw artificial lines around certain ethical issues.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

  • Guys. Marx was generally good about diagnosing a lot of the problems of capitalism-particularly its tendency towards self-destruction due to the need for expansive greed.

    Now, his other ideas about history and individualism and God and pretty much everything else he wrote? utter garbage. But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Oh, and bishops are important, You should generally listen to them. (Darn it, I just agreed mostly with Michael I. I may get banned from this blog if I keep this up!)

  • Michael R. Denton,

    But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Karl Marx was born human.

    Michael I. was born human.

    I guess I found the kernel of truth in both of them.

  • I agree Michael D, though I can’t say Marx’s ideas about history were totally wrong – certain classes do gravitate to certain ideas. The casual relationship might be out of tune, but the correlation is there.

    The irony is that so much revolutionary nonsense, especially when it railed the hardest against Christianity, is really born out of a sort of childlike disappointment that humanity did not live up to the true standards of Christianity.

    I see much of revolutionary socialism stemming from what Moses Hess said to Marx – that the whole point was to “bring heaven down to Earth.”

    If we lived as Christians ought to live, consistently, fully, these people would disappear. In a sense I see the revolutionary scourge as, if not a punishment, an inevitable symptom of a society that has fallen off the right track. That is how Leo XIII and especially Pius XI saw it.

  • Michael,

    Yes, the bishops are important in matters of faith and morals. In matters of application of faith and morals to the political domain, that’s the role of the laity. The bishops may chime in with their prudential judgment. And I will assess their prudential judgment and use mine as is proper to the vocation of the Catholic layman.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

    I understand the distinction well, but that distinction is not a matter of doctrine vs. not-doctrine.

  • Ah yes. But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion). One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

  • But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion).

    Obviously.

    One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

    True. But Catholic teaching demands that health care actually be provided to the population in general. Most folks who “respectfully disagree” with the bishops on the health care issue have no desire to see health care extended to those who have no coverage, preferring free-market “you gotta earn yer health care” approaches. Basically what Catholic teaching allows is substantial disagreement on how universal health care is to be provided.

  • Tito – Do you not want to have a discussion about Marxism anymore?

  • Of course your present a false picture Michael. And what universal health care includes is not defined by the church. In my experience, America does in fact provide universal health care for children through S-CHIP. For the elderly with Medicare and with almost all poor with Medicare/Medicaid. Your point again is limited to a very false impression of what the government already does with health care in America.

  • Phillip – Show me where I am false, don’t simply claim what I have said is false.

    Millions of people are not covered in the united states. Millions of lives are ruined by this health care system. You cannot say with any seriousness that the u.s. provides universal health care.

    Another contradiction of the right: claiming on the one hand that the u.s. DOES provide universal health care, and then on the other hand in another argumentative context insisting that the u.s. should NOT provide universal health care.

  • Show that Obama’s plan will make it better.

  • Why? I’m not in favor of Obama’s plan. I’m in favor of the single-payer option.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.) To claim otherwise is to not be based in the facts.

  • Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer. Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.)

    All children = almost everyone? What?

    Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer.

    I never said CST requires single payer. I said I am in favor of it. But CST requires that every person receive health care regardless of their ability to pay, i.e. universal health care.

    Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

    What exactly are you looking to get out of? Which persons do not deserve what? Please be specific since you seem to have something in mind.

  • S-Chip will cover all children. That takes care of that segment of the population. Medicaid and Medicare covers most others. That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage. A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST. Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

  • Medicaid and Medicare covers most others.

    Most?

    That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage.

    A “small number” is awfully imprecise. Are you saying that statistics reported and used by the USCCB are false? Is 40 million or whatever the statistic is a “small number”?

    A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST.

    The way you have phrased this indicates a “what can we get away with” approach to ethics

    Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

    Why should poor people NOT be able to have coronoary bypass surgeries? Why should they be denied “cutting edge medications”? Why are you intending to set up a class structure?

  • Actually the 40 million includes a large number of 18-39 year old who choose not to buy health insurance. A calculated risk but for most it is a wise economic choice. 11 million who qualify for Medicaid/S-CHIP are not enrolled. That would cover most of that 40 million number.
    CST does not require equality of outcome. A right in CST is that that would allow basic human flourishing. Vaccines and basic medications will. More elaborate plans are not required by CST. That’s been the teaching since Rerum Novarum

  • If you need bypass surgery or else you will die, then bypass surgery is basic to human flourishing.

  • Everyone will die. Even the rich will run out of options. Even with ordinary policies there is denial of care (transplants, experimental procedures.) The question is how much health care is a right.

  • I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

  • Not only that, but when he is older, deny a fair bit of care that he would get with ordinary, private policies in the U.S.

  • Everyone will die.

    Ah, here is your position. Crystal clear.

    I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

    1) I don’t live in Canada anymore. 2) I never had provincial health insurance while living in Canada because I am not Canadian. International students, until very recently, had to purchase private insurance. It was very inexpensive compared to the u.s. 3) In three years in Canada I did not meet a single Canadian who was unhappy with Canadian health care. Not one. I sought them out. They’re few and far between. 4) I am currently without health insurance.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

  • Its not my position, it is God’s. Even Marx couldn’t overcome that.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

    You never ASKED me a question. You said “Iafrate would probably do such and such.”

    But since you asked me directly this time…

    Presumably you are asking me assuming I still lived in Canada. Considering I had no U.S. health care at all when I lived in Canada I would obviously wait it out because “the greatest nation in the history of the world” would be of absolutely no help.

  • Phillip – What makes you hate poor people?

  • Tito, you are under the mis-apprehension that the US healthcare system is superior to that of other advanced economies. It is not.

    I am one of the lucky ones – I have insurance, decent by American standards. But in other countries I am familiar with, I can see doctors faster, I can get similar treatment, and I don’t have to deal with byzantine insurance bureacracies.

  • Michael I.,

    Are you going to scrub your fingertips until you scrape the skin off because they typed out the greatest nation in the history of the world?

    LOL

  • MM,

    Exchanging byzantine insurance bureaucracies for byzantine government bureaucracies is a step down in most people’s opinion.

    You may be able to get basic medical care at a lower price, but you will have to wait for most surgeries and other sophisticated medical procedures due to the lack of highly trained physicians being priced out of the market and to heavy regulation making it impossible to make a living in those fields.

  • Michael I.,

    i cut and pasted it.

    That was an awesome comeback!

    Niiice!

    🙂

  • But we are back to the point where we were before. The bishops have made a prudential judgment. Some laymen agree. Some disagree for different reasons. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. Obama’s health care plan is a prudential judgment. Elimination of class distinctions is not a component of CST. Rationing of some sort will happen as it does currently. Death is an inevitability. Not all health care that is available needs be present in a health plan to be moral.

  • The prudential judgment of the bishops is one thing, but their insistence that health coverage should be universal is not a prudential judgment.

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil.

    What does this have to do with it and why did you just throw it in the middle of this paragraph? Are you one of those “everything is really about abortion” types?

  • Just that the Senate plan just passed includes abortion coverage and the bishops have noted that one cannot support the current plan as a Catholic.

    Yes basic coverage for all is a Catholic principle. The problem with the bishops’ statement is that if abortion payment, as well as conscience provisions, were provided in the legislation, they would support it as being consistent with Catholic principles. This is their prudential judgment. Mine is that it does not. That’s the prudential judgment part.

  • I don’t see how universal “coverage” is anything but prudential. Universal access to basic health care may be a Catholic principle, but “coverage” suggests insurance, and the role of insurance is prudential. To the extent a society can afford it, no one should be denied access to basic health care. The extent to which that is actually happening in the US today is debatable, as is how improvements can be made. With proper protections against abortion, I have absolutely no problem with Catholics supporting a variant of the current legislation; I also have no problems with Catholics opposing it. To suggest that Catholics are required to support or oppose in such a case is just mistaken. Phillip is correct.

  • Thanks. Better said then my efforts.

  • Mike Petrik – But Catholics cannot support the standard republican line on health care. Period.

  • Michael,
    Discourse is not served by throwing our vagueries like “standard Republican line on health care.” Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare

  • Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    If you ignore all the lies in the platform, as represented in that link, maybe you statement would be true.

  • I rest my case.

  • Of course you do. Rest assured, too, in your “what can I get away with” ethic.

  • Michael,

    How can you on the one hand insist that only those who are ideologically sympathetic to you have an accurate understanding of what socialists/anarchists advocate, and yet on the other hand insist that only those who are _not_ Republican (indeed, only those who dislike them) have an accurate understanding of what Republicans advocate?

Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

Monday, November 30, AD 2009

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo defended the Church’s involvement in removing abortion from the House version of the health care bill after a storm of criticism was leveled against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of “lobbying” concerning the last minute addition of the Stupak Amendment.

“We would say: If you call it lobbying, we’re lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others,”

Cardinal DiNardo became chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB.  He is also the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  His Eminence represents a growing cadre of bishops that are leading their flocks out of the wilderness bravely in a fallen world.

All throughout 2009 many bishops have entered the national debate in regards to defending fundamental moral values and rectifying misinformation from wayward Catholics in political life.  This year seems to be the year the bishops found their voice.  Not since Francis Cardinal Spellman graced the New York Archdiocese have we seen the faithful being led with strong ecclesial leadership from all parts of the country.

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14 Responses to Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

  • Yep, that’s my Cardinal. With Cornyn and Hutchinson as our senators, Texas should be on the prolife side of this debate (although I have my doubts about Hutchinson at times, but she’s thinking of a governor run, so she has to tow the line).

  • C Matt!

    That’s my Cardinal as well.

    What parish do you attend (send me an email if you can).

    Tito

  • My cardinal, my parish. . . you Texans are all the same. You still think the rest of the USA is the backyard of the Republic of Texas. 🙂

    Have some pitty on those of us stuck behind enemy lines will ya’?

    Part of the enemies and the Enemy’s strategy is to make religion irrelevent, personal, private, quite and indifferent, then neo-pagan Satan worship will rule by default.

    It is not only permitted and encouraged, it is mandatory and incumbent upon the Church (clerics, religious and layity) to form the moral conscience of society and government. Catholics cannot and will not be quite about protecting the pre-born, the aged and all those marginalized by secular, illicit authority and the powers of the present darkness.

    Thanks be to God for Cardinals and Bishops with faith, hope and charity and what you in Texas call ‘cajones’ too.

    St. Andrew ora pro nobis.

  • That is not quite, it is quiet. Sorry.

  • That’s my Cardinal. I even see Tito at Mass 🙂

  • I love those late, late Masses on campus 😀

  • Tito:

    Can’t seem to locate an email for you.

    I go t St. Vincent de Paul in Houston.

  • C Matt,

    tito[.]benedictus[@]gmail[.]com

    St. Vincent’s, Where all the doctors attend! They have the best young adult spiritual group in the entire archdiocese.

  • I attended Mass at St. Vincent De Paul when I was down in Houston about ten days ago. I was pleasantly surprised – I was expecting a somewhat schlocky, new agey kind of Mass but got a very orthodox service (if with some unfortunate guitar accompaniment). A very packed Church, as well. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that they did not take up a collection for the CCHD. Interesting.

  • I noticed that as well at my own parish. From my understanding, you have to physically go to the narthex and drop your donation off in a CCHD bag or box.

    I like that idea instead of passing the basket around during collection.

    Outside of some of the architecture, the priests and laity are pretty solid there. You’ll still find your cultural Catholics, but it isn’t your typical parish that you normally find.

    And yes, they can definitely do without the guitar. It’s amazing how many orthodox and practicing Catholics that actually still play the guitar during Mass think it’s appropriate.

  • Well, if the worst thing is that they have guitar accompaniment, then things can’t be too bad.

  • St. Vincent’s, where all the doctors attend

    And the lawyers that sue them!! 🙂

    The Teen Life Mass tends to make me cringe, but while the style is not my cup of tea, the substance is usually solid. I am a bit disappointed with the Resurrection statue in the back (looks way to cartoonish), but the original crucifix and statues up front are pretty amazing.

    The architecture is a bit boxy and utilitarian, but at least it’s not theatre in the round.

  • C Matt & Paul,

    The statue in the back? The surfing Jesus?

  • Surfing Jesus

    Yes! That is a perfect description!

Pro-Life Republicans

Sunday, November 8, AD 2009

pro-life gopLast night all but one, who voted present, of the House Republicans voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment in spite of knowing that its passage made likely the final passage of ObamaCare.  Here is a statement of the House Republican Leadership issued last night before either the Stupak amendment or ObamaCare was passed:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) issued the following statement in support of an amendment offered by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit federal funding of abortions under the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) health care plan: “We believe in the sanctity of life, and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment addresses a moral issue of the utmost concern. It will limit abortion in the United States. Because of this, while we strongly and deeply oppose the underlying bill, we decided to stand with Life and support Stupak-Pitts.

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43 Responses to Pro-Life Republicans

  • It is an easy decision when you are genuinely pro-life; however, political pragmatism would be very tempting in this situation. It must have been difficult to know that you are voting to create the climate that will pass the Obamanation assault on health care.

    Nevertheless, we may credit them with taking the correct moral stance and pray for the Senate to kill the bill.

    What the heck is with Cao? Is he another Dede?

  • Cao is very liberal for a Republican but also absolutely pro-life. I am sure no political calculation entered into his head and that he voted for ObamaCare simply because he thought it was the right thing to do, especially since he probably assumes he isn’t coming back to Congress no matter what he does. He was elected from an intensely Democrat district in New Orleans simply because his opponent is a crook and it would take a major political miracle for him to win re-election.

  • They receive it from me, Don. I really was expecting a “present” vote from them, to assure the defeat of the health care bill… but they really surprised me. My hat is off to them.

  • I have been struggling with this all night. Keep in mind I am no a Republican and I think over the years they have done much damage to the cause of liberty. I also find many to pander to religion and actually employ political pragmatism.

    Part of me wants to be mad at them for giving the Demoncrats cover to pass this monstrosity. Stupak will likely be removed or the rules developed in darkness, behind closed doors by unelected officials will create a work around to kill babies. Nevertheless, we are to always pray, “Fiat voluntus tua” – Thy Will be done. We have to trust God and even if some Republicans voted for this ammendment knowing that it would allow the assualt on health care to pass and perhaps just to fool us into voting for them in 2010 – it is still a principled victory.

    Life is the most precious gift and all other rights, both human and civil are derived from the right to life. The defense of life has been marginalized so much, even by Christians, perhaps especially by Catholics. I am so sick of being called a one-issue voter – I am not, neither are most pro-lifers I know. It is the primary issue and that cannot be avoided no matter how severe the mental gymnastics employed may be. So long as killing the innocent is legal and even encouraged this country is heading toward extinction.

    This is a principled victory and we must give thanks even if we are tempted, as I am, to see it as hollow becuase God’s ways are not our ways.

    Mary, Mother of Life, ora pro nobis.

  • “Cao is very liberal for a Republican but also absolutely pro-life. I am sure no political calculation entered into his head…”

    If he were “absolutely” pro-life, wouldn’t the rationing, contraception, and other nasty provisions come into play for him? Evidently not.

    Also, I’d be more likely to believe no political calculations entered his head if he didn’t wait until the Dems secured the necessary number of votes to win before he voted.

  • Here is what Cao says about this on his webite.

    “Tonight, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-2) voted in favor of the comprehensive health reform bill, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

    Of his vote, Cao said: “Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.

    Cao said: “I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.

    The bill passed the House at a 220-215 vote.

    Cao said: “Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.

    Cao said: “I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents.”

    http://josephcao.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=154007

    Needless to say I disagree with Cao profoundly on this, but I do not doubt his sincerity.

  • Seems to me this is just a brief side trip along the road of the decline of western civilization.

    Reelection is usually what matters most to folks, if it means maintaining power, influence and a “comfortable” standard of living. I am grateful not to be a politician.

    Nothing surprises me. I have come to “lean on” no institutions and very, very few people. We are each capable of the worst choices and these days those choices are made with ever increasing frequency, I regret to observe.

    We pay “lip service” to moral absolutes, finding all manner of “justifications and rationalizations” to find cover for our decisions which are made in support of the “Culture of Death”, although we try to wash our hands of these as did Pilate when he handed Jesus over to pay for OUR SINS, FOLKS.

    MINE AND YOURS.

    Some things never change.

  • It was also the political expedient thing to do. Can you imagine the outrage had they voted against the Stupak Amendment?

  • This seems to be good news for the pro-life cause—so why does it taste like poison to me?

  • “It was also the political expedient thing to do. Can you imagine the outrage had they voted against the Stupak Amendment?”

    The politics aren’t that simple restrainedradical. A strong majority of Republicans oppose abortion. Almost all Republicans oppose ObamaCare. I am seeing plenty of opposition on Republican sites to this move:

    “As I responded to Daybrook, I appreciate the answer but this is horrible strategy. The NRLC should have been adults about this. They are going to save this amendment and ensure final passage. Then it’s going to get struck in conference and a chance to kill this will have been lost.

    Right now it’s passing with 63 Dem votes and 170+ Republican votes.

    The GOP leadership got rolled on this by Pelosi.”

    http://ace.mu.nu/

    Long term I think this will work out well for the Republicans, but short term there is a political price to pay for this move by the Republicans in the House.

  • Donald,
    You are not thinking clearly. Of course it was the politically expedient thing to do. The logic is impeccable: Republicans are not really pro-life and will do whatever is politically expedient; Republicans voted in favor of this pro-life measure; ergo, the vote must have been politically expedient. Hope that’s clear now.

  • 🙂

  • “short term there is a political price to pay for this move by the Republicans in the House.”

    I don’t think so. Voting against the bill gave them the cover they need. There may be some opposition, but I think the vast majority of their constituents will support this move. It’s a win-win for both sides. The Democrats get to vote pro-choice and for universal health care and the Republicans get to vote pro-life and against socialized medicine.

  • I see that some people in this thread are more partisan Republicans than Catholics. I’ve met Joseph Cao. My wife has been to numerous fundraisers for Joseph Cao. Joseph Cao is a highly honorable man, a true Catholic public figure. He promised that he would support healthcare reform if the Stupak amendment was included, simply because he knew it was the right thing to do. Joseph Cao is a hero. If only a few Republicans would follow him.

    And to Donald – yes, I very much appreciate GOP support for the Stupak amendment. The cynic in me would say they were caught between a rock and a hard place, and could not be seen publicly opposing a pro-life measure on tardy political grounds. But let’s give them some credit. And now that we have a decent bill with ironclad abortion protection, I would like to see some Republicans start supporting this bill – just a few Catholic Republicans would make a difference here. So where were they last night? Are they willing to support a pro-life universal health insurance plan that actually reduces the deficit, or are they instead enslaved to a rigid free market ideology and to insurance company money?

    I don’t know what is going to happen in conference. But with enough GOP support, we can get this bill passed withe the Stupak amendment.

  • Somebody mentioned “socialized medicine”. Sigh. This reform twins an individial mandate with community rating-style restrictions on what insurance companies can do (you know, refusing coverage, dropping people, charging exhorbitant premia based on “pre-existing condition”). For everybody in empoloyer-insurance, hardly anything changes. For those in medicare and medicaid, hardly anything changes. For those in the individual markets, they will purchase insurance on a regulated exchange, which will include a public option that will be wholly funded by premia and which cannot use medicare reimbursement rates. And those below a certain threshold will receive subsidies to help they purchase the insurance.

    How is any of this “socialized medicine”? You know, people on the right would perhaps had a better ability to shape this debate if they actually delved into the issues, instead of relying on slogans.

  • We agree that Cao is an honorable man Tony. As for the bill I think it is atrocious and I pray it is buried in the Senate, although from my partisan perspective it would be better if it passed since I believe that it would ensure the GOP taking the House back in 2010. At any rate if a bill does get out of the Senate it will bear as much relationship to the House bill as a bat does to a spider.

  • Please Tony. Your whole goal has been a single payer, socialized medicine, system. The intent of this bill is to drive private insurers out of business and to force people to become health wards of the state ultimately. Fortunately this bill has as much chance of ever becoming law as Madonna, the strumpet and not the Mother of God, does of becoming a spokeswoman for the Eagle Forum.

  • A good AP story explaining why the House bill is DOA in the Senate.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091108/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_care_overhaul

  • We have to be careful not to confuse Catholic intentions (ends) with practical methods (means). Yes, it is true that we, as Catholics, are to provide for all those in need and that includes health care; however, the Church does not demand that we use the government for that purpose. Does government have a role? Yes. Not always at the federal level. In fact as seldom as possible should the federal government be employed.

    Furthermore, Charity is what we as individuals are called to do, when government forces one of us to provide for another then it is theft and not charity.

    This bill is a disaster. Anyone who supports it has either not read it, doesn’t understand it, has no concpet of basic enconomics, is extremely naive, or has sinister intentions to make us all slaves of the state.

    I haven’t read this entire thing, it is over 2,000 pages!!!! The parts I have read are frigtening. We will be left with one, two or three enormous insurance companies with their market secured by government force. I doubt we will get to government provided health care. What we will probably get is government protection for a few insurance companies at the expense of all the other insurance companies and the people.

    Even if the Stupak ammendment makes it into the spider or the bat version that Donald is referring to, that does not guarantee that abortions will not be increased under this mess. Bills become laws and laws become regulations. Regs are not written by elected reps, they are determined by government agencies behind closed doors and always further the expansion of government and aid the corporate interests that fabricated the legislation in the first place.

    The murder of the per-born, the elderly, the disabled, you know the same old targets Eugenecists have always had is firmly set in the minds of many of those in power and any and all means to achieve this will be utilized. Those on the Left and the Right, the Libertarians (of all stripes), the Republicans and the Democrats all need to realize this NOW. If we play ‘wait and see’ it will be too late to stop it. We’ve been killing babies for almost four decades and this is going to be just another step toward more death and the destruction of what this nation can be.

    Combine this mess with Cap and Trade and you have a recipe for how you make the USA into China. No Catholic in their right mind can want that.

    I am confident that this will die in the Senate; however, these are dark times and anything is possible. Pray.

  • Suz,

    I’m with you.

    This’ll disappear in committee *IF* the Senate passes the health care bill.

    But in the end this violates the rule of subsidiarity.

    Technically speaking, why bother giving money to Catholic hospitals, or any other Catholic Charity, if the government is going to provide it to you at the expense of your children having to pay off this monstrosity of a debt in the very near future.

  • How is any of this “socialized medicine”? You know, people on the right would perhaps had a better ability to shape this debate if they actually delved into the issues, instead of relying on slogans.

    1). As someone that follows politics, one should be able to safely assume you are aware that Republicans have offered, in recent years, several reform proposals. Agree or disagree, there is substantive opposition. And slogans are necessarily a part of all debates.

    2). The label “socialize,” and the ensuing slogans, are correct. This House proposal is a large-scale federal government intrusion and cash influx (which is sickening for those of those of us that can’t stand the quite brazen A. Stern and SEIU). In this context, “nationalize” is an incomplete but usable description. And to “nationalize” is to “socialize.” These two words, in the political context of advanced liberal democracies, are synonyms. (In fact, feel free to go right ahead and make a case for any one time in 20th Century American history where this was not the case – I’ve had people try and it’s pretty difficult.) This is why I have for some time now found the supposedly “Catholic anarchist” arguments for this particular brand of reform to be quite strange.

    3). As an advocate for health care reform, I applaud the efforts of Rep. Stupak and also hope the Democratic efforts, for far too long the pawn of public sector unions, trial lawyers, and the abortion lobby, go down in flames. Any reform efforts need, at minimum, three things: a). strong protections for the unborn b). a serious appraisal of the demographic impact of baby boomer entitlements, senior care – including discussion of some manner of what could be termed ‘rationing,’ and illegal immigration (I favor a halt on all immigration, especially with double digit unemployment and until such time as the number comes much close to 3 or 4 percent – the wage destruction of the past few decades has been terrible) c). measures that make trial lawyers furious.

    All Catholics must agree on the first point. The Senate Democrats and the president are horrible on that score, especially compared to the always running for re-election House, but let us hope for a surprise.

  • In regard to Representative Cao, this article is in accord with my view of him:

    http://spectator.org/blog/2009/11/08/defending-cao

  • Cao is a good guy. Part of the problem here is the LSU Charity hospital that was destroyed by Katrina and still has not been rebuilt.

    It was pretty clear to a lot of us on Obama’s visit to New Orelans and his elusive answers on Federal finds for this that he sending a message to CAO. I think CAO doid what he had to do

  • This is NO victory. This is a political public stunt, & abortion was used as a red herring.

    This is the Stupak Amendment:

    Page 154, after line 18, insert the following new section (and conform the table of contents of
    Division A accordingly):

    SEC 265. LIMITATIONS ON ABORTION FUNDING.

    (a) IN GENERAL.–No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act

    (or any amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion

    or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage

    of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder,

    physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician,

    place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including

    a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy

    itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of pregnancy or incest.

    The last clause: “unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of pregnancy or incest,” places in law a class of human beings that has no protection of life and is jeopardy of loss of life through no fault or responsible action of their own: those who have been conceived by the sins of rape or incest and have not yet been born. This is NOT a pro-life amendment.

    I got this from a friend in regards to the Rep who voted present:

    “Well, Shadegg had a plan to throw sand in the gears and likely ruin the political machinery grinding out a victory for the government takeover of health care. He was rounding up the votes to kill the pro- life amendment (by voting “present”) and thereby killing the whole bill and quite possibly the entire effort. This would have caused such a train wreck, it is doubtful the liberals could have
    recovered, i.e., Waterloo.”

    http://prop207az.blogspot.com/2009/11/with-friends-like-right-to-life-who.html

    I wonder if Rep Shadegg’s-(AZ) strategy actually would have killed the bill?

    Because of the USCCB encouraging lay faithful to call their Rep to add the Stupak (anti-life) amendment to the bogus health “care” bill, we could possibly have a socialistic country. Thanks USCCB! Next time you want to do something dramatic, have the pastors read & stuff the bulletins with
    Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html

    Faithful Catholics NEVER have & NEVER will support socialism!!!

  • Faithful Catholics will never support socialism? Indeed, if you define socialism correctly and not as a mere slogan. But remember, Catholic social teaching tells us that faithful Catholics should also eschew the ideology of free market liberalism. Pius XI referred to both as the “twin rocks of shipwreck” – extreme individualism and extreme collectivism.

  • “Combine this mess with Cap and Trade and you have a recipe for how you make the USA into China. No Catholic in their right mind can want that.”

    China has neither universal health care nor cap-and-trade. Did you mean the UK?

  • Or did you mean that no Catholic in their right mind can want to make the USA into Malta which does have universal health care and cap-and-trade.

  • Pope Pius XI:
    “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist”

    Every Pope, beginning w/ Leo XIII to our current Pope Benedict, condemns socialism. The main underlining reason is that socialism ultimately denies the central truth of Christianity, that man needs GOD.

    The bill does not deal only w/ “health care.” There are other issues in the bill such as, the bill will create a government home visitation program, with federally funded bureaucrats giving out parenting advice, and nothing in the bill makes it clear that these programs must be voluntary.

    I take it you support the bill, because my previous post started w/ the wording on the Stupak amendment, showing how it is NOT pro-life & as well, to Shadegg’s plan. “But remember” the Catholic Church is pro-life. However, you don’t discuss these items, instead you zero in on socialism, because in your mind you think the USCCB was right. Well, they weren’t & now they are regretting their decision. They DON’T approve of the bill.

    Get it in your head – Americans want health care REFORM – not govt. take over.

  • The Stupak Amendment–if it stays in after the Conference sausage making (and I think it will, all things considered)–certainly removes the deal killer aspect of the House plan for me. And the Amendment also greatly diminishes the problems with the conscience clauses, which were pretty iffy beforehand.

    As much as it may grate folks here, MM is unimpeachably correct–health care is a right. In the absence of any other moral objections, it isn’t a bad day for Catholics. Far from it.

    Now the kicker is to see what the Senate does, and to make sure the Amendment stays in.

  • NY Times: Dems Banking on Later Squeezing Pro-Life Language Out of Bill in Committee
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09110705.html

    Abortion in or out of the bill was a ruse. If Stupak’s Amendment stays in, which I highly doubt, don’t think for one moment that Planned Parenthood & other abortion activists will not be plotting how to bring this bill to court in three years to say it is unconstitutional.

  • If it stays in, they instantly lose the Court challenge on stare decisis. Hyde survived the Supreme Court.

    A “ruse”? Maybe that’s what the pro-aborts were hoping, but I don’t think that’s fair to the overwhelming majority who voted for Stupak.

  • Actually I think one can argue from Catholic Social Teaching that this is a failure for Catholics. Starting here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/08/AR2009110817808.html

  • rradical: “China has neither universal health care nor cap-and-trade. Did you mean the UK?”

    Sure, UK, China, whatever. It is just the difference between socialism and communism. A little bit less of a bad thing doesn’t make it good.

    Control health care (HR 3962), life (Roe v. Wade), food (FDA), money (the Fed) and energy (Cap and Tax) and you have slaves not citizens.

  • Just becuase health care is a right doesn’t mean the government has to directly provide it. Our rights come from God and are secured by government. Government can secure the right to health care by allowing a market of businesses to provide medical services and insurance services as well as allowing overall wealth to increase by not confiscating it so that we can take care of the indigent with Charity instead of theft.

    Why would anyone who is remotely Catholic want the government to start providing our tangible rights directly. Health care includes food, water, exercise, medical treatment, shelter, clothing and love – should the government provide all that as well?

  • “Why would anyone who is remotely Catholic want the government to start providing our tangible rights directly.”

    Because an uninsured friend of mine died at age 33 because of cancer that wasn’t diagnosed in time. Because there are plenty of folks “enjoying” long stints of unemployment here in Michigan who can’t afford COBRA. Which runs out in 18 months anyway.

    Actually, I don’t want the government to *directly provide* free coverage for everyone. I just want it to make sure that coverage is *available* for everyone. I’m all ears as to viable alternatives, which haven’t been proffered.

    I am also cognizant of the problems with the Pelosi bill apart from abortion, specifically the costs and regulatory problems which will likely result.

    However, at least it does provide coverage for those who need it. Which, alas, the Republican plan didn’t, despite the fact it contained some long-overdue reforms.

  • Dale,

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend. You should know, though, that cancer survival rates in the United States are higher than in Europe and Canada (where the government plays more of a role), and one of the reasons is that we actually do *more* screening than do other countries, and treatment comes faster once there is a diagnosis.

  • Exactly BA, which is why one may find varied reasons as a Catholic to be bothered by this.

  • BA:

    Yes, and I recall reading somewhere that overall cancer treatment in the US is the best in the world, by a wide margin. God knows I don’t want to see that lost with any reform.

  • Some cancers yes, some no. I seem to recall the evidence is mixed. But in general, there is nothing wrong with the quality of US healthcare. It’s just that a lot of people can’t get it, and it’s incredibly expensive.

  • MM,

    I think you’re missing BA’s point, which is that the facts suggest that even given the fact that number of people in the US do not have health insurance, people _still_ overall get cancer screenings more and survive cancer longer.

    Frankly, I think in this case it’s probably a wash since the pending legislation will probably only increase the number of insured nominally — you aren’t simply “given” health care, you need to pay for insurance, and paying a fine for not having insurance is cheaper than paying for insurance (even after subsidies), so those who can’t afford insurance now mostly still won’t have insurance. The main people helped by this will be people with lots of money who nonetheless don’t have employer insurance and can’t get individual insurance because of some pre-existing condition.

  • MM — since you’re here, you might want to correct your constant misinformation and lies about how often private insurance covers abortion. A quote from yesterday’s NY Times: “A 2003 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found that 13 percent of abortions were billed directly to insurance companies.” Note, that’s billed, not paid.

    This refutes your dishonest attempts to claim that “most” people are contributing to private insurance policies that pay for abortion.

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Stupak Gets His Vote

Saturday, November 7, AD 2009

Representative Bart Stupak’s (D. MI.) amendment to the ObamaCare bill in the House will get an up or down vote. Stupak’s amendment would prohibit all funding of abortion under the House ObamaCare bill.  Now the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, attempted to avoid a vote on the Stupak Amendment by concocting a false compromise which was shot down.  So why is she caving now after so long attempting to avoid a vote on this issue which threatens to derail ObamaCare for good?  She doesn’t have the votes to pass it otherwise. Her whip Steny Hoyer (D. MD.), has told her that he doesn’t have the votes to pass ObamaCare unless pro-life Dems get this vote.

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22 Responses to Stupak Gets His Vote

  • My Rep. Maurice Hinchey, is a card carrying liberal, Catholic, pro-abortion, Democrat but I emailed him just the same. Being from New York everyone who “represents” me does so, the vast majority of the time, in opposition to how I would prefer.

    When I read the co-sponsors of HR 3962 I saw that Rep. Charles Rangel was among them, good Catholic, from NYC that he is.

    You know I am opposed to one-issue Catholicism, as I feel is the case with abortion and the Catholic Church(although the Church is correct in its stance just severely(malignantly so) myopic regarding other life issues) yet I could not fail to oppose this legislation and make it known to Mr. Hinchey.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Thank you Karl for making the contact. This vote comes at a good time since a lot of the Blue Dogs will be sweating bullets over New Jersey and Virginia. If Pelosi and Reid were competent they would have had this vote months ago. Fortunately they are not.

  • We cannot allow child murder to not only be allowed by government but also to fund it with our labor. This is just sick.

    My fear is that the amendment to the 2,000+ page debacle will simply be a bandaid used to restrain a Leviathan. This bill is so all encompassing and will create so much havoc and consolidation of power that if it passes becuase of this amendment more children will be killed also.

    Their are forces at the highest levels of government that want to murder our children. This amendment will not stop them. They will use the massive power of this unprecedented bureaucracy to promote and fund murder without need of law.

    A 2,000 page bill will become a 2,000 page law, which will become 200,000 rules determined, implemented and enforced by unelected and unaccountable government lifers.

    If this bill passes say good bye to America as we know it and the change that comes will be nothing like the good that is in America today and will compoud and multiply the evils. Nothing of Catholic Social Doctrine will survive if this monstrosity passes.

    We are being fooled with an allegedly ‘pro-life’ amendment. If the Blue Dogs fall for this then it may be time for the firing squad.

  • Using modern science, not medieval science the question is: “When can we say the fetus is a living human being?” The answer for most is when brain waves are detected, around the end of the second trimester. That is why British law forbids late term abortion but allow it earlier. The fetus before brain waves is biological life, still primarily a part of the mother. After brain waves appear, the fetus is human life, even if still part of the mother.

  • Actually John it is pro-aborts who tend to cite medieval science in this debate, with out of context arguments from theories of ensoulment. From conception human beings are human beings with their own unique genetic code, and not chattel to be slaughtered at the whim of the mother, or the whim of others coercing the mother to kill her child.

  • You cannot be “just a little bit against abortion.” If all life is not held sacred and protected, then no life is safe. For those who doubt the efficacy of this, please review the film and documentary propaganda the Nazis used to convince a sophisticated and cultured populace that there existed different claims to the right for life…Jews, gypsies, physically/mentally-disabled persons, eastern European races were not worthy of the resources the Reich needed to launch a war. Indian and Chinese parents abort fetuses just because they are not male.Apparently, only the male son is capable of taking care of his parents in their old age. Of course, in our society, we abort for concvenience. I wonder what definition of convenience in the future will be used to justify the killing of the unborn, the infirm, the elderly, the severely handicapped, etc.

    The right of a human being [fetus included] trumps the right of women, the government, parents to take that life.If Catholics and other Christians do not stand up for the sacredness of all life, why should I bother to be Catholic. Who then will speak for the unborn?

  • Bravo Dr. Holman!

  • Dr. Holman,

    We belong to the Catholic Church because we belong to her head, Jesus the Christ. The Catholic Church is not a political party. The Catholic Church has no platform. Even if every Catholic was pro-abortion the Church and the Magesterium of the Church will never compromise on the sanctity of human life. That is a guarantee of the Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of LIFE.

    The error here is not in the teaching or stance of the Church. It is a problem of implementation. Some bishops and other clergy have been sending confusing signals about this and they are to be ignored. The teaching of the Magesterium trumps any other. Law is properly the realm of the laity. We are to be informed by the Church and work to fulfill the moral teachings in our lives and our nations and governments.

    The biggest problem here is Catholic congressional critters that are pro-abortion or indifferent to the issue. There are more than enough critters in congress who identify themselves as Catholic, not the least of which is the lying political hack Pelosi, to kill all bills that seek the murder of chilren. If these critter would vote their properly informed consciences (first they have to pcik up a catechism) not only would ALL of these assault on health care proposals die but a law to prevent the murder of any more children would pass, even with the post-birth murderer in the WH, and the Supreme Court would have no provision in the Constitution to undo it.

    The proper question to ask is why bother with either political party, since they are flip sides of the same sick coin; rather than why bother being Catholic? you’re not Catholic what are you?

  • Note that pro-life Democrats are the key to either stopping this bill completely or preventing it from funding a massive expansion of abortion services. Republicans alone are too far in the minority to have any effect.

    That ought to give some pause to those who insist that no pro-lifer can ever be a Democrat, or vote for a Democrat, because the official party platform is pro-abortion.

    And perhaps it ought to give some pause to those who insist that we must never vote for anyone whose pro life record is less than 100 percent perfect. (I get the impression Stupak may not be pro-life enough for some people based on past public statements of his)

    Without these pro-life Dems, even the less than perfect pro-life Dems, there would be NO way to stop this abortion juggernaut. There needs to be a pro-life presence in BOTH parties and electing more pro-life Dems ought to be the number one political priority of the pro-life movement… equal to or even greater than getting pro-life justices on the Supreme Court, because those justices can’t get confirmed without Senators willing to vote for them.

  • The Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed with 240 votes! 🙂

  • Now it needs to stay put, provided this ultimately gets to conference.

  • I’m surprised by the size of the victory. I bet Pelosi is too. I imagine the plan was to have this stripped away in a future conference committee with the Senate reconciling the two health bills. This was premised on a narrow passage of Stupak. With 64 Democrats and all but one of the Republicans in favor of the Stupak amendment, Pelosi would probably see the bill go down in flames if that trick was pulled. Now she has to explain to 194 of her caucus why they should continue to support a bill which has just handed the pro-life forces their biggest legislative victory this year.

  • The health care bill passed with 220 votes.

  • This is excellent news. Can I now expect all Catholics to throw themselves fully behind the health care bill that incorporates the Stupak amendment?

  • Of course not. There’s no “Catholic” obligation to support this particular bill. As I’ve pointed out before, with nary an answer, there are several times more people who die from getting healthcare as there are who die from the lack of it (at least in America). So it’s completely open for a Catholic, or anyone of sound mind, to wonder whether people’s health will overall be benefited, and whether it’s the wisest use of hundreds of billions of dollars, to give more so-called “health-care” to more people.

  • No Tony, it is now merely an an unwise idea and not an evil idea as it would be without the Stupak Amendment, but nonetheless it remains foolishness on stilts. At any rate a health care bill from the Senate must first receive 60 votes to invoke cloture, and I can’t imagine anything resembling the House bill even getting 55 votes in the Senate.

  • That had to be a joke. Do you really beleive the Stupak ammendment will protect children?

    Fools.

  • Dear Morning’s Minion,

    This bill continues to violate Catholic teachings on matters of intrinsic evil and can also be opposed on legitimate prudential grounds. It is tragic to call this health plan “universal” when it simply shifts who doesn’t receive care from the poor to the disabled and elderly.

    Regards,
    Steve

    PS: I personally cannot afford health insurance (though I’d like it), and I loathe the GOP. So you’ll need to find another option for your ad hominem attack response.

  • Donald:

    The “Democrats for Life” have stepped up. Should at least some honest Republicans not do the same thing now that there is a bill with iron-clas protection against abortion? After all, the USCCB said that passing the Stupak amendment would turn them from a critic to a strong supporter.

    I’m disappointed. I’ve noticed all along that for many “Catholics” who opposed this reform, especially on the internet, abortion was not the defining issue. Intead, the defining issue was adherance to an individualist ethos, an ethos that stood against the Catholic notion of solidarity, which surely calls for the community to provide health care to all. After all, the Church deems healthcare as a fundamental right. Maintaining the status quo is a violation of that right.

  • Steve,

    I'[m not going to call names or attack the GOP (I love the way come people defelct all criticism with cries of ad homimum – weird in this context). I will merely take issue with this statement: [this bill] “simply shifts who doesn’t receive care from the poor to the disabled and elderly”

    I will simply ask: where are you getting this silliness? The House bill is largely financed by an income tax surcharge and taking the middleman our of medicare advantage. In fact, one reason the AARP supports this bill is that it does largely nothing the curb the escalating costs of medicare. ANd the disabled? Huh? As someone in the thicket of the healthcare debate for yours, I don’t know where you get this stuff. And don’t you think if there were serious life issues other abortion, the USCCB would be flagging them???

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  • Amazing. The brave anonymous Morning’s Minion has started putting Catholics who disagree that this bill is the best way to serve the common good in scare quotes. “Catholics.”

    Nice.

    Morning’s Minion, who defends the diversity of political options regarding the legality of abortion from a Catholic perspective, cannot admit that same diversity here.

    Morning’s Minion: If I, as a Catholic, oppose this legislation because I believe that it will hurt more people than it helps and will not meet the needs of those it claims to help and will damage the common good, and if I believe there are other legislative options that will do more to improve the situation in regard to healthcare, it is not your place to define me as less than Catholic because of that.

6 Responses to Stop the Abortion Mandate

  • Most Democrats would never vote for a bill that didn’t cover abortion? Why not?
    The truth is that no one is FOR abortion. Just a woman’s right to decide.
    Republicans want to cover Viagra because they feel “erectile dysfunction” is a “medical condition”. If Democrats can’t cover abortion, then Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to cover Viagra.

  • “The truth is that no one is FOR abortion. Just a woman’s right to decide.”

    Rubbish. That is akin to saying that no one was pro-slavery but merely the right of a white to decide whether he owned a black. Thank you for proving my point that for most Democrats and their members of Congress the right to abortion is the holy grail.

  • Erectile dysfunction is a disorder that is corrected by medication. Pregnancy is a natural condition whose end is a live, human infant. The equating of the two shows in part why you, and Democrats in general, don’t understand the issue.

  • Though I will say, at a pragmatic trade off level, I’d be willing to see people with erectile disfunction have to pay for medication out of pocket, if the trade off would result in a total ban on any funding for abortions — not because I’d see them as the same thing, but because I’d see them as of much different levels of importance. I just don’t think that that party of NOW and NARL has any interest in making the trade.

  • I wouldn’t disagree with that. I don’t think everything can or should be covered. The illustration for rdean is that given medication for erectile dysfunction is a form of health care. Directly terminating a pregnancy is a form of murder. Two very different things.

  • Perhaps I am getting senile, but I do remember Senator Boxer asking [some years ago, of course] “Since when is pregnancy a disease.”.