Ben Nelson Latest Elected Official to Ask Catholic Bishops to Give Their Approval to US Law

Just in case you had any doubt about the direct–and I mean direct–intervention of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in curtailing women’s rights in US health reform legislation, here is the latest evidence of how some representatives are working at what appears to be the behest of the bishops.

Congressional Quarterly reports

Ben Nelson hardened his stance on abortion language Thursday, stating
he would not vote for a health care overhaul unless the bill’s proposed
restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions are tightened.  [Though] he had said earlier in the week that abortion language was not a make-or-break proposition in the debate.

If the Stupak Amendment is not passed, Nelson has stated he will join a Republican filibuster against the bill.

Without Nelson, Reid will need at least one Republican to reach the 60
votes he needs to limit debate on the health care overhaul and bring it
to a vote. The likeliest candidate is Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who
voted for a version of the legislation approved by the Finance

But to win their votes Reid will have to:

yield to Snowe’s demands on another contentious issue in the health care debate: the government-run insurance plan, known as the “public option,” that many Democrats want to create to compete with private insurers. Snowe is skeptical of the proposal and has said she will support a public option only if it is structured as a fallback, triggered solely in the event that private insurers fail to offer coverage considered affordable.

Discussions are underway to reach a compromise position in creating a public option similar in some respects to the plan Snowe has outlined.

Nelson and Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) appear to have engaged in a sort of pissing match on who owns the strategy of taking away women’s rights in the Senate bill.

Nelson reportedly wanted to offer his amendment this week, but held off after Hatch said he thought that the measure was being rushed to the floor. Why?  Because Hatch wanted his name to be first.

Hatch had expected to be the lead sponsor of the amendment, and he said he thought it was “discourteous” that Nelson was preparing — apparently at the behest of his leadership — to call up the amendment without Hatch’s consent.

To be fair, Hatch was "there" first.  He offered a version of the Stupak Amendment to the evolving health reform bill in committee this past summer.  It failed.

For his part, Nelson said that the amendment’s language was not finished, and that groups opposed to abortion — notably the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — needed more time to review it.

So there we are ladies: Your lives in the hands of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a small group of men who don’t even represent the majority of their own faith much less the majority of Americans.

And the Senators in question are not even shy about admitting it.

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  • colleen

    Unless he has recently converted, Ben Nelson is a Methodist. Ironically and unlike the Catholic church, the United Methodist church values women and is pro-choice.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD