Monday, May 10, 2010

Sister Carol Keehan Misrepresents Her Support of the Health Care Bill

Writing at Inside Catholic, Deal Hudson notes that Sister Carol Keehan is trying to have it both ways by claiming to have supported the Bishops' position on federal abortion funding while also supporting passage of Obamacare:
Sister Carol Keehan responded to the standing ovation she received at a gathering of Obama’s Catholic coalition by making a very strange claim about her support of the recent health care legislation signed by President Obama.

"We were in complete accord with our bishops and our church that abortion is a grave evil. There is no justification for abortion, and we would not ever have supported this bill if we thought it funded abortion."

Huh? The bishops made it
very clear they did not want the health care bill to pass the Congress precisely because it did contain abortion funding.

If somehow, Sr. Keehan missed the series of press statements from the USCCB opposing the health care bill, perhaps she also missed the national parish
bulletin insert sent out by the USCCB prior to the final House vote. In the March 11 insert, the bishops explained the Senate bill rejected the Hyde Amendment "and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions."

Why did Sr. Keehan misrepresent her opposition to the bishops’ position on the health care bill? Why would she underscore her "accord" with the bishops, when she directly rejected their request that she, and all Catholics, oppose the bill?

It’s a fascinating study in political-ecclesial double-talk. The standing ovation itself confirms the position Sr. Keehan took against the bishops. There’s no way the Catholics who support Obama would have risen to their feet if she had joined forces with the bishops in an effort to kill the bill. No, Keehan was applauded because she ignored the bishops...


More than one bishop has called out Sr. Keehan and her Catholic Health Assocation for supporting the health care bill. Archbishop Joseph Naumann, in a column for his diocesan paper, responded to Keehan’s denial of abortion funding in the bill:
I find this statement by Sister Keehan either incredibly naïve or disingenuous. Either the bill permits previously prohibited government funding of abortion or not. This is not a technicality.
Archbishop Naumann also encouraged the Catholics of the diocese of Kansas City, KS "to contact Sister Keehan and the Catholic Health Association expressing to them your disappointment in their willingness to accept government-funded abortion as part of health care reform."

The scope of the fall-out for Sr. Keehan and the CHA has not been made public, apart from the decision of
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI to remove his two hospitals from membership. In a previous column, I reported the decision of a prominent lawyer in Columbia, SC to leave the board of the Sisters of Charity Foundation because of its support of the health care bill. There are undoubtedly more consequences down the road for the Catholic Health Association as the ramifications of the promised abortion funding become more public. Planned Parenthood is already crediting the health care bill for the opening of a new clinic.

[Read the whole thing]
Also, be sure to read Hudson's related blog post, "Rise Up, Rise Up for Sr. Carol Keehan".

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
The Bishops Strike Back Against Dissenting Women Religious [UPDATED]

Sister Carol Disinvited from D.C.-Based John Carroll Society Speaking Gig

Establishing the "Alternative Magisterium"

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