Are Congressman Stupak’s Assurances are Without Merit?

I have commented little on the healthcare debate in DC since the focus of this blog is meant to be Church life and culture not partisan politics. And yet, the USCCB had asked us to stand against the bill due to its legal wording that permitted the Federal funding of abortion. Abortion is a moral issue, not political one and I feel free to comment on that.

A man who hours ago had my admiration for his principled stance against the funding of abortion was Congressman Bart Stupak. He and the a number of other pro-life Democrats stood courageously against the bill on the grounds that it funded abortion.

 Today Mr. Stupak and the  principled stance of other pro-life democrats gave way to political pressure. Mr Stupak et al. were given a political fig leaf and they took it. Mr Stupak has to know that the executive order of the President carries no weight because it cannot over-rule the Law that is going into effect upon the President’s signature. Both Democrat and Republican leaders I saw interviewed fully admit this. The Healthcare Bill, when signed into law permits Federal funding of Abortion. Anyone denied such funding on the the basis of an executive order can sue and will win because the law is clear and an executive order cannot set aside the law.

The reassurances that Mr. Stupak declares the executive order gives are without merit. He must know better than this. A fig leaf could not take away Adam and Eve’s shame. And the same remains true here as well: no fig leaf of some executive order can take away the shame of voting to fund abortion. It is shameful.

You can read the statement by the National Right to Life Committee here:

I am interested in your understanding of this deal and if you think that the reassurances of Mr. Stupak are with or without merit. Since this is not a political blog I am grateful if you can avoid partisan jabs and comments that are more political than focused on the issue of abortion and how it relates to this bill.

In this video Congressman Stupak defends his decision


Update: Statement by Richard Doerflingerof the USCCB:

We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

“One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

Richard Doerflinger
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

78 Replies to “Are Congressman Stupak’s Assurances are Without Merit?”

  1. A man who hours ago had my admiration for his principled stance against the funding of abortion was Congressman Bart Stupak. He and the a number of other pro-life Democrats stood courageously against the bill on the grounds that it funded abortion.

    Monsignor — how do I put this delicately? Come on, you are a smart guy. How could you be so naive, so naive especially living in D.C., knowing how things work around here? Perhaps you are just too good hearted, too trusting, and I suppose that is a good thing, especially for a priest. But still.

    The ONLY stand that ever counts is the stand at the end, the stand on the final vote. Ever since John Kerry made it abundantly clear, when he “voted for it, before he voted against it,” that much has been clear. Preliminary votes, preliminary stands against votes, count for nothing.

    And what else is clear is that, for all their pro-life protestations, they belong to the party of abortion on demand as a fundamental right, and they — each and every one of them — voted for the pro-abortion leadership of the House who manufactured this travesty of tyranny. They have already demonstrated that they will put party before principle. They were never to be trusted. And it is hardly a surprise they voted the way they did. To be sure, it was expected that they would do so back when the Stupak Amendment was passed.

    That is not to say that you can trust Republicans much more on pro-life issues. The GOP will take pro-lifers’ votes in November, but they rarely get around to really doing anything to advance the pro-life cause, and many of them spend much of their time complaining about how undesirable we are.

    And, sad to say, an executive order that is not worth the paper it is written on is not the only “fig leaf” in play here. There is the matter of the old “seamless garment” fig leaf, where too many (e.g. Commonweal) will tell you that passage of this monstrous attack on personal freedom, including liberty of healthcare in addition to the right to life, is the true pro-life position, that the supporters of this law are the ones with a “consistent ethic of life,” while those who opposed it — including the bishops — are evil anti-life, anti-poor hacks of the insurance industry. (Cardinal Bernardin no doubt meant well in initiating the use of those terms, and I will not say anything against him, but there is little doubt that that idea has been appropriated for use as a fig leaf against authentic pro-life efforts.)

    If I sound bitter tonight, it’s because I am. Once again, innocent babies are expendable, to be chucked aside at the slightest pretext.

  2. The bill itself does not provide for the federal funding of abortion. In fact, page 2071 specifically prohibits it. The executive order may not trump the law, but in this case it need not– it is consistent with the bill itself. Both leave the Hyde Anendment in tact, and both ensure no taxpayer money will fund abortion. That’s just the facts.

    1. It seems to me Andy that it does provide for such funding and the President’s signing of the Exec Order is an admission of that. Why sign an order restricting such funding if the bill already did that?

      1. No, the law does not permit abortion. The Executive Order was merely a restatement of that effect, albeit a legally ineffective one. The President’s order was not an admission that the bill permitted an abortion, but just allowed Stupak and other “pro-lifers” to stay in the spot light. Stupak was a politician long before he switched sides. The Senate bill does not allow federal funding for abortions, Democrats have made that clear throughout this healthcare debate; what Stupak was upset about was that HIS language was not included, that HE was not the one to usher it through. Because the effect was the same but his name was not on it, he decided to play politics, and hold the uninsured hostage while he did it. The Executive Order was just one other thing he could put his name on.

        Stupak was not the only one playing politics with getting their way. The USCCB was just as complicit. They’re language didn’t get included, and instead of supporting the Senate bill, which again preserves Federal law and does not allow Federal money to be paid for abortions, they decided to play tough and fight for only the language that they helped write. It is inarguable that if the bill did not pass yesterday, this Country would not have a chance at seeing health care for all Americans for decades to come. The Bishops decided to ignore that reality and play tough. It was a sad display, and I refuse to believe that any of them could call themselves “pro-life” because my thought was that “life” was more than just being born, it was access to care to extend that life, especially for the poor.

        Abortion was always a political red-herring in this debate. There are several principled reasons to be against the bill that was just passed, but claiming that is supports abortions is false and an insult to those of us who do support human life from conception to death.

      2. And anyway, what will happen if we ever elect a president who is pro-abortion? Can’t he just sign a contrary executive order?

        Wait a minute …

      3. Msgr.- It was a face saving move for Stupak. He was boxed into a corner and needed a way out that looked like he won something, without looking foolish and admitting it was never allowed in the bill in the first place. It is right in the bill – p. 2071 – it is a restatement of the Hyde Amendment.

    2. “The bill itself does not provide for the federal funding of abortion. In fact, page 2071 specifically prohibits it. The executive order may not trump the law, but in this case it need not– it is consistent with the bill itself. Both leave the Hyde Anendment in tact, and both ensure no taxpayer money will fund abortion. That’s just the facts.”

      If this is true, why did the Democrats and their anti-life supporters object to the Stupak language? If it was meaningless, why the big fight?

      The Hyde Amendment was created because federal caselaw going back to the 70s required the funding of abortion unless specific language, in the legislation or an amendment, prohibited such use of the funds. In the absence of such language, an action can be brought in federal court and the abortion funding will be ordered. The Executive Order is worthless. The president cannot amend legislation.

      1. Brian- The bill says what it says. There can’t be 2 truths about it. It flatly continues the Hyde Amendment. Opponents of the Hyde Amendment resented a Democratic president restating it; they felt betrayed by an ally who was needlessly rubbing their faces in it.

        In the discussion we are trying to infer what is in the bill from the actions of others; “Why did Stupak demand it?” and “Why did pro-choice people oppose it?” The best way to know what is in the bill is to read it. It couldn’t be clearer.

      2. Legal experts to the Bishop, to Congressman Stupak, to many pro-abortion groups all disagree with you Brian. There are according a a wide variety of legal experts several back doors to the Hyde Amendment that the Bill provides.

      3. Andy:

        “Brian- The bill says what it says. There can’t be 2 truths about it. It flatly continues the Hyde Amendment. Opponents of the Hyde Amendment resented a Democratic president restating it; they felt betrayed by an ally who was needlessly rubbing their faces in it.”

        No it doesn’t. Where is the Hyde language restated on page 2071?

        Unless you have the language in the legislation itself, the courts will rule that abortion is covered. It is not even a close call.

      4. Brian- You can find it at the following link:

        Page 2071, line 19 lays out the “Prohibition on the Use of Federal Funds”.

        This bill was about extending health care to God’s children who lack access to it. It was not meant to address abortion. I think the opposition to it on pro-life grounds stems in part from some people wishing it did seize the opportunity to restrict abortion. But not every bill needs ot make abortion more rare in order to do tremendous good.

    3. Andy, unfortunately you are right and also wrong. The bill itself does allow for direct funding of abortion through community health centers (my thought is to read it as Planned Parenthood) as well as indirect funding by subsidizing health care plans that cover elective abortion. I leave this link for your review.

      1. Andy:

        If federal funds cannot be used for abortion, why is there a section that refers to the use of federal funds for abortion?

  3. In politics anyways I don’t think that there are truly any Democrats that are pro-life. I don’t talk much on political issues because I am torn myself on some of them. I don’t think abortions should be happening, yet I see the aftermath of things in the ER. I see pregnant teens, women who have been raped, women who might die unless they get an abortion, and believe me, not all of these people have the faith, strength or will to be martyrs and save the child over their own lives. I’m not saying that I think abortion is right at all or these bills are right – I am merely stating that even if we took it away, people would still find ways to get abortions. Case in point: I had a patient some years ago who was 6 months pregnant and wanted an abortion. The only state doing abortions that late in the pregnancy (and they were partial-birth) was New York. So she went up to New York to get the abortion. I remember being shocked and appalled and thinking how selfish she was, going and getting the abortion so she could keep leading the destructive life of partying and hobnobbing with rich people.

    I’ve seen the aftermath of abortions as well – quite a few women have some sort of internal damage or bleeding for a while after they get one. I truly wish that abortions would be abolished but as long as people want to get them, and as long as there are plenty of pro-choice people and Planned Parenthood places out there, they will still be happening unfortunately.

  4. I think Stupak’s assurances are worth nothing, nada, zilch. I watched the debate on the House floor for this vote, I have been following the healthcare debacle since it first started. I belong to neither of the major political parties, I am registered as an Independent. I think Stupak & Co. sold us up the river by caving in to their party’s demands. When it gets right down to the nitty gritty, they are looking to cover their own hind ends, not looking to what was the moral and right thing to do. I hope they remember what happens to those who have their treasure here in this life and not the next. All that’s left for us to do is pray for all these politicians since I doubt they are praying themselves.

    1. Pray we must. I think your reference to where are treasure is, is a very good one. Stupak, just like Ben Nelson before him have surely not embraced martyrdom.

    2. TWatson- The bill does not allow for federal funding of abortion though. So what was there ot sell down the river?

      1. Andy –

        At which point in my post did I mention abortion? Since you bring up abortion in the bill, the language used (and *not* used) is what gives the federal government the opportunity to spread the scourge of abortion throughout the land. I have read what I could find of the bill once and it is so Huge I am not going to go back and find the lines which bring me to my conclusions. The question I answered was if I thought Stupak’s assurances have any merit, and I still do not think they do. Aside from abortion (reprehensible though it is) there are so many more things wrong with it to make it unacceptable. I would suggest you read at least most of it before you decide it is a good bill. I would like to take this opportunity however to apologize to those congressmen that did not follow Stupak’s lead and vote for the bill after all. There were some Democratic members that did not sign because they too found the bill to be morally bankrupt, and I would like to thank them publicly for standing up for their moral convictions.

  5. As much as this is landmark legislation, I think it will continue to be refined as time passes. I hope that Rep. Stupak and others will immediately work to pass separate legislation which will ensure that no future President will be able to change President Obama’s executive order.

    1. Well, one can hope. But I’m also concerned that the overall trajectory of civil law against the moral vision of the Church is going to be hard to reverse. Gay marriage, Euthanasia, abortion, contraceptives to children, the steady erosion of religious liberty etc have all made steady strides in the legal and legislative branches in the past ten years, almost independant of election or poll results. I think the American People overall have remained rather traditional on these matters but that doesn’t seem to matter to judges and legislators.

  6. I also was cheering on Bart Stupak as a hero for our times only to be disappointed. We have to remember Satan is “prowling around this world” to ruin souls and no one is immune. Jesus said to cast out certain demons we must both pray and fast. The passage of this bill calls us now to carry out this command with fervor and unrelentless purpose. The “smoke” in Congress is choking its members. Get on your knees and pray for another St. Francis, Thomas Moore, and Catherine of Sienna, and especially for for yourself to engage in this spiritual warfare. God is still in control, not Congress.

  7. First of all Msgr, Mr. Srupak had been given the same warnings you site above by both Dem and Repb representatives. Secondly, the pro-abortion lobby said they could live with it. Now the courts will side with law, especially on such liberal issues. Yes, Stupak grabbed at a fig leaf. True, had the shoe been on the other foot, Repbs no doubt would have acted the same way. The disappointing thing really is that it is the Catholics really who are responsible for this decision.not only Stupak and his group but the Seaker of the House and the head of Health and Human Resources, and the Vice President. I also blame the Bishops and their ” partners ” and various religious and assorted ” Catholic ” organizations for their missguided decades long campaign to involve the government in some kind of national health care. It is amazing to me that they are so trusting in the power of government. It should have been obvious to all, from our experiential experience of history, that government and its bureaucracies is a beast not easily tamed. History should teach us that Satan lurks the halls of government and so far history has proven the Prince of this world controls governments.

  8. It is very easy to sit back and judge what Mr. Stupak has done from the comfort of our padded desk chairs. It is much harder to accomplish all that he has though. I find the attitude of many of my Catholic brothers and sisters to be appaulingly contrary to the Gospel or Our Lord Jesus Christ and I am having a hard time reconciling what they say with his command not to judge. No one, throughout this whole messy process, has worked harder for the rights of the unborn than Mr. Stupak. His concern has been actualized through his constant efforts and extremely hard work until the very last moment to do everything possible to ensure protection for the unborn to the scorn of his fellow party members. Unilke the Republicans, who apparently show no concern for those suffering the injustices of the present system, he has constantly sought a way to implement the full scope of the Gospel. At the end of the day, despite all of the criticisms of the righteous, I believe that he can go home, kneel beside his bed and look up to heaven and say: “I did all that I could…” how many of us can say that honestly?

    1. Christ never said not to judge, only that we will have the same measure applied to us that we use to judge others. If we were not to judge, then how could we possibly be able to “judge a tree by its fruits,” or offer spiritual advice to those going astray?

      I can and will judge Stupak, because it was his caving that allowed such pro-abortion legislation through. Without him and his “pro-life” members, the bill most likely wouldn’t have passed. I feel safe in judging him, because the same measure is applied to me, as well. If I ever support abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and myriad other intrinsic evils, then I am certain that I will be judged in the same way — and rightfully so.

      Not that I’m casting judgment from my comfortable, padded chair. A comfortable chair may easily be traded for a bench in a jail cell, which I would accept over ever allowing a single penny of my money to go for abortion in any form. Granted, that is much more difficult to accept than a rich politician caving in to political pressure because of backroom deals (odd that he has just gotten over $700,000 for three airports in his district, isn’t it?) and a few jeers, but such is the way of the world.

    2. It seems Patrick that you are manifesting the same attitude you criticize others for having. You are not the judge in this matter of the merit of others actions.

  9. Come on, Pres. Obama is going to keep his word. I do not believe that for a minute. I think Stupak found a way to cave while still saying he was pro-life. The Pres. might sign something, but he knows, as did Stupak, that either the courts will over rule it or Obama will change his mind and sign an order that eliminates this one. I have two thoughts about all of this: Stupak either knew and planned to cave in the end, getting his name out there and scoring some political points along the way, giving the other side false hope, etc. and it was all grand trickery, or they threatened to take more from him than he was willing to give. Hey, we (more Catholics than not) voted for Chicago style politics for DC. Now we have them.

  10. I’m not politician or a lawyer, and as such I’m not an expert on the facts of this case. I am, however, a medical student and a pro-life and orthodox Catholic. As such, I do have an interest in what principles should inform our behavior in difficult situations like these. And as such, I would like to ask a question regarding principles rather than the facts of the particular case.

    Rep Stupak claims that, had his coalition not voted for the bill, it would still have passed. This could have happened either (a) because there were enough votes without them or (b) because without them, Democratic leaders would have made some other compromise with another group that would have been either morally neutral or morally evil. Rep Stupak further claims that the bill with the executive order is better from a pro-life perspective than the bill without the executive order. In other words, the executive order actually does something.

    Let us grant for the purposes of argument that those two claims are true. I am not asserting that they are; I am merely trying to explore a position.

    If those claims are true, could voting for the bill (precisely in order to secure an executive order to limit the harm of abortion) be consistent with John Paul II’s instruction in Evangelium Vitae that ” …when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects”?

    Let it be clear that this is no apologia for the pro-abortion policies of President Obama or the Democratic leadership. It is also not an attempt to say that Rep Stupak’s actions were in fact licit. I am asking about principles, and whether in principle (if Rep Stupak’s claims are true), his actions could be licit.

    Msgr Pope, I would be very grateful for your thoughts.

    1. The democrats won by only 3 votes. Hence they could not have passed it without the Stupak coalition. B is purely hypothetical so it’s hard to comment. Thirdly Stupak had to know that an exec. order carries no legal weight in this matter. So with all three of the premises set aside it is hard to rule on your scenario. JP II surely set forth a possible set of circumstnces but they don’t seem to apply in this case.

  11. *applause for Bender*

    mmmph mmmph mmmph mmmph (me refraining from partisan jabs)

  12. Good morning Comrades —

    Congratulations! Your health care and, therefore, your very bodies and persons, are now property of the federal government.

    Da svedanya!

  13. There’s been too much discussion on Hyde. Hyde may be laudable in a political position, but on the matter of morality it is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

    The real pro-life concern is the ‘no less than $1’ language that sets up a financial incentive for insurance companies to promote abortion-covered plans offered within an exchange. As Tim Noah of Slate acknowledges, it costs significantly less for insurers to cover abortion. The arbitrary price floor – like so many price floors – will disrupt the private market towards preferring the high-yield abortion-covered plans.
    And from what we know of the industry, their promotion, hiding, deceit of certain products is certainly possible. There’s also nothing in the Senate language that prevents insurers from making their mandated non-abortion-covered plan on the premium scale. They could offer two plans: comprehensive + abortion, comprehensive plus – abortion. The two products would likely provide the best yield.

      1. The vast majority supports Hyde (and you can count me), but I think the Bishops picked the wrong fight. The Hyde language isn’t a moral position, but a political concession. Arguing the nuances of Hyde distracts from the moral teaching on the sanctity of life and abortion and the fullness of social teaching of the Church.

        There were other anti-life provisions in the bill that placed the government in the unjust and inappropriate role of encouraging abortions. The financial incentives will place many to enroll in abortion-covered plans – in part because they will be promoted, encouraged, coerced by a private market seeking to profit from that arbitrary price floor of covering abortion.

  14. For all this talk about “universal coverage” and how “healthcare is a right,” let’s be totally clear here — ObamaCare does NOT provide you a “right to healthcare.”

    The ONLY thing that ObamaCare covers, the only thing that it provides an entitlement to is PAYMENT of money into the system. Actually getting treatment is ENTIRELY up to the government under this system.

    You are now a ward of the state. The state owns you and will do with you what it will — you do NOT get treated unless and until government says so. And more times than you will care to hear, it will say you do not get treated, just as government has limited actual healthcare treatment everywhere such a system has been implemented.

    Certainly, all those young and healthy people who will be forced to pay into the system or go to jail are not expected to actually take anything out, the whole plan depends upon them NOT receiving any benefits, it depends entirely on them only paying into it and receiving nothing in return.

    1. I’m don’t understanding what this plan means for most people. I hear a lot of talk without a lot of info. Do those who voted on the bill understand it? I wonder…

      I don’t understand the mandated purchasing of healthcare coverage. I gather, if I have health insurance, I don’t have to buy, but if I didn’t have it, I would be required to purchase-?? How does this help people who have lost their healthcare as the result of lost employment? With what funds (w/o a job) are they to pay government premiums? Is there some kind of sliding scale for cost depending on income?

      Giving in without getting out sounds a little like the concerns with social security, doesn’t it? Someone name me an industry that has run better once the government put it’s fingers into the mix.

  15. Are we not tying ourselves up in knots here – and vilifying Mr Stupak and other pro-life politicians unecessarily?

    1. Abortion is legal in this country. I hate that fact, I’m sure all of us here do – but it is legal. Until the day that it is illegal once more, I think it is unrealistic to expect that health legislation will somehow make impossible Federal funding for something that is legal. Recognizing that health care reform is a political process, as well as a moral issue, I think we Catholics have to accept that, because the mortal sin of abortion is legal, we will not be totally happy with any new legislation.

    2. This reality requires us to be realistic about the new legislation. We have many members of Congress who don’t care at all about abortion; others who are passionately “pro-choice”; and a few, like Mr. Stupak, who are passionately pro-life. Having heard him speak on the floor, and read his various positions/amendments etc on abortion, I am convinced that he did what he could. To suggest that he is a “Judas” etc is a shocking assault on the man – and, to my mind, a very unChristian one.

    3. As others here have noted, our Catholic faith demands that we have concern about the health care of people. While imperfect in many ways, this new legislation is a step in the right direction – 32 million people will now have insurance. Leaving aside the issues about funding/sustainability, etc, – surely the principle of poor and vulnerable people getting basic healthcare should be a cause for celebration for all Christians.

    4. I suspect that Mr Stupak and other pro-life members of Congress realized that the Executive Order was as much as they could get; therefore, I suspect that each relied on their conscience to determine their vote. None of us were in that position. It is my belief that he, and other pro-lifers, made the right call. Do you really think our President would have caved in on abortion at this late stage?

    5. A final comment on those mocking the new legislation – every developed country in the world – in the WORLD!!! – aside from the US has some government-legislated health insurance provision for the poor and vulnerable. It is unacceptable that a supposedly Christian nation believes it acceptable to deny people this basic social good. Countries like Germany, UK, France, and Australia can provide this service at half the cost we can right now. It may not be perfect, but they are way ahead of us. Thank God that this new legislation, for all its imperfections, moves to us a more Christian position.

    1. I think the US Bishops are not in agreement with you here on points 1-4.
      As to # 5 Lets not forget that we have Medicair/Medicaid and that although all people are insured most get the treatment they need through Emergency room. Your argument also presumes that those who are troubled want no reform at all. The Bishops are hardly in this mindset. There are other ways to resolve our problems than to pass a bill with abortion funding and other objectionable things such as a lack of subsidiarity. America may be alone , but we have the best healthcare on the planet currently and that is a factor to balance your concern that we are not like other nations.

      1. Regarding Emergency Care, so far they are not performing abortions in the Emergency Room (thankfully not mine anyways). They do a procedure called a D & C which is the technical term for abortion, but it’s always after a woman has a miscarriage, or they find out that the baby is going to be stillborn. However, if they ever started doing abortions in Emergency Departments for real I will not be a happy camper. It would majorly impact healthcare and not in a good way.

  16. Stupac must not hold fast to his public position of being pro-life. The Executive Order is just as the Monsignor pointed out. It has no forse of law and can be rescinded at any time. Stupac knows this. So, Bart Stupac is a “cafeteria” moralist. He has no real moral compass when it comes to abortion.

    He didn’t “save the day.” He could have by voting “NO” on the bill.

    Please vote him out in November

  17. Christians!, specifically Catholics, point the finger of fate at yourselves.

    Modernist Catholics: Obama 66% McCain 34%
    Ethnic Catholics/other Christians: ” 74% ” 26%

    Next time you’ll do better, if there is a next time.

  18. “5. A final comment on those mocking the new legislation – every developed country in the world – in the WORLD!!! – aside from the US has some government-legislated health insurance provision for the poor and vulnerable. It is unacceptable that a supposedly Christian nation believes it acceptable to deny people this basic social good. Countries like Germany, UK, France, and Australia can provide this service at half the cost we can right now. It may not be perfect, but they are way ahead of us. Thank God that this new legislation, for all its imperfections, moves to us a more Christian position.”

    We have it as well. It’s called Medicaid. There are also federal laws that require that people be treated, regardless of ability to pay.

    These stories of thousands of people dying in our streets are myths (as contrasted with the 15,000 elderly French who actually died during a heat wave a few years ago).

  19. I sympathize with you Msgr. I really do. I thought Scott Brown had potential when he went to Washington. Finally, I thought, a congressman I can stand behind. Even if he is from another state, he is someone I can cheer for. Then I heard about his pro-choice stance. Then Stupak, a democrat who is pro-life and holding his ground. Once again, disappointment. It’s been this way my whole life. I am always looking for one man or woman who can see it my way, not on everything, but on those things that really matter to me. Nothing but disappointment. But there is one man who is on my side and does care about the things I care about and he never lets me down. And one day he will come to Washington and to the World. With the way we are constantly throwing away his commandments, trying to push him out of our lives, I honestly don’t know how much time is left. I am not one to predict anything and as it is written only the Father knows the time of the return. But with the election of our president, an advocate of abortion of the worst kind, and the passage of a bill that forces God’s people to fund that which is against God’s law and takes away free choice, plus all the other problems we face in this world, I say forget mankind and take the faith you want to put in them and give it to our Lord Jesus Christ. Only he can fix this world now. I continue to pray that I am worthy to stand in his presence for all eternity someday and I do my best to honor him and keep his cammandments. I have even learned to pray for those who don’t because what awaits them if they don’t change their ways I would not wish on my worst enemy. Please keep the word of God alive Father to help us through these troubling times and pray more for anything is possible through our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless us all and may God have mercy on all our souls.

    1. Yes, I was also surprised at how the catholic blogs lit up in support for a politician fwho was pro-choice. I palced questions on a few of the blogs to this end and was told by some of the fellow commenters that he wasn’t as bad as the other candidate. But we need to be careful about how we conduct ourselves. I think the Scott Brown thing was a little out of the the blue. I don’t think most of us knew anything about him until days before the election when he burst on the national scene. There was little time to vett his views. And then there was Stupak and before him Ben Nelson. In the end politiicians are just politicians. We want to to be champions but they are just politicians, given to compromise.

  20. Msgr. I will check World Cat for ” The Tragedy of American Compassion. ” Of course Alexis de Tocquevilla said something similar but in strictly secular terms. Always glad to get a good book to read.

  21. What we have now is not only “legal genocide” but the Government will pay for it with your tax dollars. My rating for the USCCB just went down after thinking that they trusted a politician like Stupak…When will you get it through your head that there are no honest politicians? But we were warned by the Bible that things like this were very much a part of life in this world–and always will be. Where were the Catholic politicians? That’s easy, they were working for Satan and the Church will still allow them to receive communion. The joke is on us–for we have met the fools and they is us……

    1. Not sure I would fault the USCCB for what Stupak did. They were right to support him in his battle. It isn’t about trust, it’s about affirming what is right, no matter who says it. You are right, about the Catholic Politicians. We do not have our own house in order. If every Catholic Politiican sided with the Church on moral issues we would be a force to be reckoned with. But alas we are not united and a large number of a whole generation of Catholic politicians have been poorly formed in their faith and are party members well before they are Catholics. This is true about more than abortion.

  22. Health care reform is good. In politics, you don’t get everything you want. This political tantrum has shown that Catholics are a viable force in politics. Human rights being recognized as beginning at conception will be addressed more directly in the future. The Bishops dancing to the tune of the Republican Party is the thing that embarrasses me most and is what I like least about being a Catholic.

    1. Oh I wish you were right about Human Rights being more addressed in the future. I have seen a rather steady erosion of many issues in the past decades. The courts and legislatures have steadily set aside basic moral issues regarding not only abortion but also gay marriage, euthanasia, stem cell research, etc.

      Also Eduardo, I can assure many Republicans I know don’t like the Bishops any more than you. For different reasons to be sure. But I think you are wrong about the Bishops dancing to any Party. To be a friend of God is to hated by this world and I think the Bishops have been very consistent in articulating Catholic doctrine about abortion, immigration, health care reform, capital punishment, care for the poor etc. This puts them at odds with both side of the aisle from time to time.

  23. “The Bishops dancing to the tune of the Republican Party is the thing that embarrasses me most and is what I like least about being a Catholic.”

    Yes, the Bishops were big supporters of abortion until their masters in the GOP ordered them to oppose it.

      1. I was being sarcastic. A theme that has been developed over the last few days is that the Bishops were only concerned about the abortion issue in order to support the GOP. The Church since its inception has opposed abortion, so that claim is nonsense.

  24. As an average citizen as I am, understanding the bill fully is a huge feat. Here is how I interpret laws and regulations. Once the bill is becoming into law, the Act, the words in it supercede the executive order. There are also yearly appropriation bills authorize the government to spend money. The Hyde Amendment is a ban attached to appropriation bill and must be renewed year after year. The ban on government funding of abortions through the new health insurance exchanges will be dependent on the Hyde Amendment’s renewal. The words in the law are in effect as of the date that is six months before the beginning of the plan year involved. If Congress fails to renew the Hyde Amendment in any given year, the abortion ban will have no effects.

    There are priests and nuns working tirelessly in other parts of the world to save unborn babies and neglected children. Please consider to look them up and fund their work.

    1. Yes, bewilderment is a susbstantial part of the problem. Even congressional experts disagree on what the bill says or mandates. For this reason many people including me are for or against the bill more as an abstraction than based on any thorough knowldge of what is actually in the bill.

  25. Rep. Bart Stupak’s rhetoric, for many weeks prior to the vote on Health Care indicated that he desperately wanted to vote yes on the Bill. The phony executive order was just for cover, allowing him to pretend that he was still standing strong on the abortion issue.

    Bart Stupak was and has always been a FRAUD.

    1. Well, if he was a fraud I know not and I don’t think we can say things like that, or at least we shouldn’t It was clear that Stupak wanted to vote yes for a lot of reasons. I would prefer to say that I am disappointed as to his final surrender. He clearly caved and for assurances he must have known were not real. But i would stop short of calling him a Fraud. Perhaps he was just weak, In the end politicians will almost always be politicians. We want them to be string and courageous, but in the end they are politicians.

  26. Eduardo,

    What you fail to recognize is that the Bishops are following Church Doctrine and not dancing to ” the tune of the Republican Party”

    Some, but not all Republicans , just happen to share a belief in the sanctity of life.

    There is nothing “Good” about this bill. It is designed to force everyone into a soon to come governmant run system. It may take a few years, but you will regret your support for this trash.

    The main purpose of this monster is to destroy the American economy, thus allowing a complete overthrow of what remains of a Democracy

    If this bill is so wonderful, why did Congress exempt themselves AND THEIR STAFF from Obama Care.

  27. In the recent leglisative war on healthcare, I regard our Catholic bishops as armchair generals and our nuns, 600 Catholic hospitals and 1,400 Catholic nursing homes as those in the field. Mandated conscience has no place in a democratic society.
    Armiger Jagoe, editor
    The Joyful Catholic

  28. I don’t see why no one is considering constitutionally challenging the bill on the infringement of religion…The 1st Amendment to the Constitution. If the government forces to pay taxes under penalty of law, and those taxes fund abortions, which the Catholic Church considers an intrinsic evil aren’t we being forced by law to commit a sin of enabling abortion through our taxes? It would be like the Federal government requiring us to pay taxes, some of which they will use to kill Jews in gas chambers. Is this not an infringement on our religion? CCC 2272: “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.” Isn’t this considered a mortal sin? Wouldn’t we be morally obligated in that case to stop paying taxes to the Federal government….at least with regards to any tax other than Social Security.

    1. The amount of tax money spent on abortions, even if all of them were so funded, is trivial compared to the amount spent on unjust wars. In particular, it would be awfully hard to defend the Second Iraq War as a CCC 2309 just war on *any* of the four points, never mind all of them. Where is the Catholic hierarchy on tax resistance? Where is it on mass conscientious objection?

  29. I guess the president ran out of pens.

    Apparently, he hasn’t gotten around to signing the executive order.

  30. This has been long coming. We, the people of the Catholic Church in the US have little understanding of the way we are suppose to live. You have a great blog here but in your first address here you state you did not comment on this health care debate because it is political. That was your first mistake. By your omission you allowed so much to transpire without your input.

    Now lets take this back to the election of 2008. This is the most pro-choice, anti-christian president we have ever had. The majority of the “Catholic” people voted Obama in. That is a big problem. That means we are not living what we say we are…as Catholics. I had a chat with a very poor man who was lacking in virtue. First he admitted to his failures. He then continued to state that a nation gets the leadership it deserves. That statement is probably one of the most important things we can understand now. Until we begin again to live in communion with the Catholic Church and Her teachings our nation will continue down this perilous slope, even by our own votes. Until we humble ourselves before our God again our nation will spiral out of control. Until we change our bad virtue d ways our nation will suffer. So don’t be so down on these bad virtue d politicians because by your thoughts actions and omissions you have put them there.

    1. You may be right about me. I am not always sure how best to comment on heated political debates of our time. Neither am I sure that I have the balance right in preaching to issues of our day. My main goal is to preach the gospel and I don’t want to lose people’s attention over politics. I have found that once I am identified (even falsely) as a Dem or Rep. some people just won’t listen to a thing I say after that. It is unfortunate that many if not most people are far more passionate about their politics than their faith. Nevertheless I do applaud the laity getting involved in the temporal and political order. You have not only the right but also the duty to do so. Sometimes we clergy have to be content to preach the principles and let the laity connect the dots and enter the debate. I am surely not known as one who is sheepish in tackling the moral issues of our day but I will not be drawn into a discussion where others have set the terms in such as way as I and more importantly the Church, is labeled and categorized with secular metrics (eg liberal, conservative, Rep. Dem, Right, left). These are the worlds metrics and I resist them. I am against Captial Punishment and they call me a democrat, I am against abortion and they call me a republican. What I want to be is a Christian.

      1. That is a problem…we let the politics get in the way of our moral teaching. Go and yell it out on mountain top. Do not fear these political labels but fear God in what could have been a great teaching moment. Obviously you are one of the highest and most grounded Christians here because you devote your life to Jesus. And I want to thank you for that because it means a lot to me. You are a light in the darkness. But go tell it on the mountain. Say it like it is. Never crumble for your own protections. You will be labeled anyway…you are one of Gods Shepard’s. Really it is important to let everyone know of the moral foundation of our politicians. The politicians moral foundations lead them and they lead the country and make these laws. We saw this coming but may be were too afraid to speak out about it. May be there is more to it. Surely we loose more with our omissions here now than if we were labeled something to try to intimidate us..

        I know this is directed at you but with all humility and sincerity I request your discussions on these things. This is a bigger problem all around. Thank you!

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