Network, along with the Catholic Health Association, can take real credit for health care reform. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to talk to Sr. Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of NETWORK. She is the author of the letter, signed by the leadership of American nuns, advocating a vote for health care reform legislation without the highly restrictive anti-abortion language (the original Stupak language) that the bishops wanted. Like the Catholic Health Association, these nuns believed that the anti-abortion provisions in the Senate version of the bill preserved the status quo (i.e., no federal funding for abortion), and took a courageous stand that disagreed publicly with the bishops.
Sr. Simone told me that she gathered the signatures in only 48 hours, and then hand-delivered the letters to offices on the Hill. In several places, she said, the response was gratitude and even relief, with expressions like “…this is just what we need.”