It’s a little difficult to believe, but the shrieking anti-abortion Protestant nutcases seem to have had less influence over the current health care legislation than the the more sedate, no-nonsense bishops of the Catholic Church. The Stupak Amendment, which promises to limit access to abortion in ways the Hyde Amendment never could, was promulagated by a devout Catholic Democrat, who managed to persuade 63 other members of his party to vote along with him. Some were apparently willing to scuttle the whole bill unless they got their anti-choice measure included. According to a Politco report, the Conference of Catholic Bishops was very much involved behind the scenes:
“Pelosi wasn’t the only one getting pressure on the amendment. As rumors spread that Republicans might vote ‘present’ in order to scuttle the entire bill, even Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called Republican leader John Boehner to make sure the GOP didn’t play any games with the Stupak (abortion) amendment, sources said.”
Does this mean that in addition to the insurance industry, big Pharma, the doctors and hospitals, and the like, we must wait for His Holiness to weigh in?
While waiting for things to sort themselves out, it’s well worth reading the statement issued Saturday evening by Center for Reproductive Rights in New York on the potential impact of the Stupak Amendment:
This evening, the House of Representatives voted for health care legislation that requires women who are insured through the Exchange to purchase riders for coverage of abortion services and eliminates abortion coverage in the public option altogether. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this statement in response:
Tonight’s vote in the House is a stunning assault on women’s health and rights. In a matter of hours, our elected officials have fallen hook, line and sinker for the anti-choice position, dispensing with a credible compromise on abortion and adopting a bill that would leave millions of women worse off than they already are today.American women demand that members of the Senate refuse the political bait which sullied the House vote and protect women’s health. Health care reform is supposed to provide affordable health care coverage to all Americans. Yet for women, this legislation gives with one hand and takes away with the other, forcing millions to buy insurance that does not meet all of their medical needs.