Bart Stupak Begs to Have His Knuckles Rapped With a Ruler


Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the legislator who has led a group of House Democrats who oppose the Senate health care bill because of its abortion language, says his life has become a “living hell” because of the debate.


His congressional offices have been inundated with phone calls, e-mails and more than 1,500 faxes on the issue — most from people outside of his district, Stupak said.


Stupak has insisted the Democrats’ health care bill should include language to ensure that federal dollars are not used to fund abortions. He managed to get Democratic leaders to add strict language to the House health care bill limiting abortion coverage, and the Senate bill added similar language.

Stupak says, however, that the Senate health care bill does not go far enough, and he claims there are about a dozen Democrats who will vote against the Senate bill with him.

A number of legislators and advocacy groups disagree with Stupak, including leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns who announced yesterday they find the Senate bill’s abortion language acceptable.

Original movie poster

A couple of other anti-abortion rights House Democrats — Reps. Dale Kildee of Michigan and James Oberstar of Minnesota — also said yesterday they are reassured the Senate language is acceptable. Kildee plans to vote for the bill; Oberstar initially said he would vote yes, but his spokesperson told the New York Times that Oberstar was “a strong likely yes.”

Stupak told the Hill, however, that he still has 12 House Democrats willing to vote against the Senate bill because of the abortion language.

From Joan Walsh at Salon:

I’m not a huge admirer of Rep. Bart Stupak, who tacked an amendment onto the House version of healthcare reform that went way beyond what was needed to make sure federal insurance subsidies aren’t spent on abortion. The Senate passed slightly less restrictive language. It forces women to purchase “special” abortion coverage with their own funds, which effectively prevents anyone getting public subsidies from having abortion covered, since by its nature abortion represents an unplanned event. We all know the odds are high we’ll get sick and need healthcare one day; not so when it comes to abortion. “Abortion insurance” is sort of a contradiction in terms.

But that’s not enough for Stupak; he wants his original language restored to the House bill. That’s a sure way to scuttle the bill, since the House can’t change the Senate bill without sending it back to the Senate for another vote, where Sen. Scott Brown has vowed to torpedo it. I can’t tell if Stupak just isn’t smart enough to realize the bill already does what he wants it to do, or whether he’s deliberately trying to kill the bill, in concert with his C Street Republican friends. […] But he went beyond what was necessary, yesterday and today, in disrespecting the 60 Catholic nuns representing 59,000 sisters who bucked the Catholic bishops and came out for the bill Wednesday, declaring it “the real pro-life position.”

“When I’m drafting right-to-life language, I don’t call up the nuns,” Stupak told Fox News. Instead he said he consulted “leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and the National Right to Life Committee.” Thursday, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” he repeated his dismissal of nuns’ opinions, insisting he listens only to the bishops and that he’s never even been lobbied by nuns.


There was a way for Stupak to say he disagreed with the nuns without condescending to them, but two days in a row, he didn’t find it. […] He joins the patriarchal leaders of the Catholic Church who never listen to the voices of women, either, and he’s proud of that.

So is Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue, who released a statement saying only the bishops could speak for the Catholic Church. Not only the nuns but the Catholic Health Association disagree with Donohue and Stupak, joining the push to pass the bill.

Cheers to the Sisters who stood up to the bishops!


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30 responses to “Bart Stupak Begs to Have His Knuckles Rapped With a Ruler

  1. Sister Simone of Network (a nuns’ lobbying group … who knew?), both a lawyer and a nun, has come out strongly supporting the bill. I listened to her on “As It Happens” last night and thought she was really great.

    I repeat my catchphrase (which I’d make into a bumper sticker if I had time):

    I support health care reform
    BECAUSE I’m pro-life.

    • this is from today’s nyt:

      “It is an utter mystery to me” how religious groups that oppose abortion could read the same bill so differently, said Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization that supports the bill.

      Sister Simone, who described herself as anti-abortion, said she did not believe that the Senate version of the bill would make abortion more widely available. She did not directly criticize the bishops, but said “some people could be motivated by a political loyalty that’s outside of caring for the people who live at the margins of health care in society.”


      “When I read the Gospel, where is Jesus? He’s healing the lepers,” Sister Simone said. “It’s because of his Gospel mandate to do likewise that we stand up for health care reform.”

      As for Mr. Stupak, he is in a fair bit of trouble with nuns for his remarks.

      “We have a number of nuns in his district, and they’ve been calling him,” said Sister Regina McKillip, a Dominican nun who lives in Washington. “Who’s been on the ground, in the field? Who knows the struggles people have to deal with? It’s the sisters.”

      • I told my wife it’s time to stop sending Bart Stupak coathangers and start sending him rulers instead.

      • I’ve long suspected that if the Roman Catholic Church was under the control of the nuns rather than the bishops and cardinals, it would be a lot better at doing its job.

        • that would be true for a lot of religions. more emphasis on compassion and less on domination and control.

        • JaxDem

          Truer words were never typed wken. See the nuns have retained full possession of thier brain cells while the male hierachy allowed theirs to migrate south to the testicles where they died a slow, but happy death. Always wondered why the nuns have never kicked some hierachy ass…those cardinals and bishops soooo deserve it.

          • it’s all about power. men want to dominate women, even religious ones. the nuns are the soldiers on the front lines. they teach the kids in schools and take care of patients in hospitals. while the bishops might think they’re pulling the strings, i bet they don’t really know half of what goes on in the trenches.

  2. As a survivor of being raised in an Irish Catholic family, one of the big rules you learn early on–

    Do NOT piss off the nuns!

  3. This whole issue was decided decades ago yet they can’t let go. If there were a total ban on the procedure in US, the trade would be border cities in Mexico and Canada offering it. Sort of like Texas now, when you need to gamble, you head for Shrevesport or the Red River. Those Nuns know the leadership is distracted by the endless sex scandals of their leadership. That and the big effort going on to deify and give sainthood to that nazi a$$wipe Pius XII. They even have a court Jew giving his approval, some med eqiupment guy from NY.

    • the bottom line is that they had the opportunity when chimpy was in office and he had a rethug congress and court to outlaw abortion altogether. they didn’t use that opportunity, because that’s the issue they run on when they have nothing else. they always wring their hankies over abortion when there’s a dem in the white house.

      • If abortion was abolished, what would the National Right to Life Committee do?

        More to the point, what would the president thereof do for a living?

        How would James Dobson whip masses into a fury?

        Nah. They need the issue more than they care about the unborn.

        People who actually care about the unborn tend to find ourselves supporting funding for prenatal care, child care, food assistance, etc..

        But activists who like big headlines don’t really care … they need exciting wedge issues.

        • exactly, wken. abortion is their cash cow, and we all know how much they love their cash. if they really cared so much, they would encourage sex education. they’d also have a lot more respect for females and encourage young men to have more, too. they’d do more for the poor (like making sure they have good health care and a decent education). if poor kids think that they have a real future, they would think twice about having kids when they are not prepared to take care of them.

          • But … sex ed? That encourages kids to have sex! Everyone knows that … ’cause kids wouldn’t do it if we didn’t tell ’em about it.

            You’re making too much sense again.

            • agreed – the GOP ‘elite’ does not want a repeal of roe v wade – they would have NOTHING to act insane about

              well they will always be insane

              • i love it when a rethug is cornered and is forced to say that he really, really, really wanted a certain issue to be addressed, but the votes just weren’t there, even when there was a rethug in the white house and a rethug congress. that’s the excuse they use when tweety hammers them on health care, and that’s what they’ll say if hammered on why they didn’t push for abortion to be illegal.

            • i’ll try to watch that in the future. after all, how many kids wouldn’t have gotten in car accidents if they had never taken driver’s ed in order to learn how to operate a car?

              • Exactly!

                Now, who taught my daughter to drop things in the toilet, that’s what I want to know.

                • i swear it wasn’t me! i bet it’s the same guy who taught my son and nephew to throw spaghetti in the fish tank “because the fish were hungry.” the guys been surreptitiously doing evil for decades!

  4. JaxDem

    Story of an Immaculate Disseption…brilliant I say, brilliant.

    And thanks nonnie for stopping by the other night 😦

    • i had to think of a title other than nuns on the run, and when i saw that i’d have to put something in place of immaculate deception, i thought of diss. the title followed the description. glad you approved.

      that was a lovely tribute to paul, jaxdem. i went there with a heavy heart, and i cried more than once reading the comments. hugs.