Hallelujah! The Stupak Amendment just passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 240 to 194, with one member voting present. Earlier reports had predicted 225 votes for the amendment which bars federal funding of abortion as a part of health care reform but Congressman Stupak was able to whip up 64 Democratic votes. (Yes, 64 votes from what was recently called “The Party of Death.”) To be clear, only Democrats who favored health reform but oppose abortion could achieve this outcome. One of the fringe Catholic websites earlier was urging Congress to vote yes on Stupak and no on the final bill, which just doesn’t make much sense since the prohibitions on abortion funding in the Stupak Amendment would only take effect if the bill they amended takes effect.
The House is currently voting on the ridiculous GOP alternative plan, which will fail, and then they will proceed to a vote on the final health care bill.
The National Right-To-Life Committee has sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to vote for the Stupak Amendment which will ban all federal funding for abortion coverage. The key section in the letter reads: “As NRLC’s congressional scorecard for the 111th Congress will clearly explain, a vote against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment can only be construed as a position-defining vote in favor of establishing a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds, and a second federal program that will provide government subsidies to private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand. NRLC regards this as the most important House roll call on federal funding of abortion since the House last voted directly on the Hyde Amendment in 1997. If you do not wish to go on record in support of creating major new federal programs that will both fund abortions directly and subsidize private abortion coverage, please vote for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. NRLC will regard a ‘present’ vote as equivalent to a negative vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.”
A couple of different sources, online and in the midst of the action today, are suggesting that GOP Congressman Ahn ‘Joseph’ Cao from Louisiana’s Second District might vote in favor of the final health care bill, provided the Stupak Amendment passes. Congressman Cao is a devout Catholic who won the seat held by indicted Congressman William Jefferson. He indicated back in August that he was undecided, but leaning towards supporting, the bill. His office is not taking calls today, but I hope he and Archbishop Gregory Aymond exchanged cell phone numbers at the latter’s installation at St. Louis Cathedral just a couple of months ago.
Consider for a moment the challenge Sister of St. Agnes Dianne Bergant posed to CTA delegates in a plenary session Saturday morning, based on biblical reflections. She said:
"Our understanding of ourselves or our identity, not merely our practices of social justice, must be radically revised," she said. "While we are certainly called to open our minds and hearts and lives to migrants and to commit ourselves to their well being, we should consider the possibility that the migrants themselves, and not our commitment to them, might be the source of God’s blessing for us.
Where there is Call To Action there is Bob McClory, journalist, author, longtime NCR contributor, and CTA co-founder. And where there is Robert McClory there is Margaret McClory, CTA co-founder and organizer and CTA mind and heart for more than three decades.
Bob spoke Saturday morning, relating a meeting he and Margaret had with Holland’s Dominican theologian, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, who will celebrate his 95th birthday next Saturday.
The McClorys visited Schillebeeckx two years ago during an NCR assignment on the Dutch church.
The Belgian-born Schillebeeckx remains in Nijmegen, where he taught for so many years at the University of Nijmegen, and where, in a small house on a quiet street.
Sister of Charity Louise Akers addressed the Call to Action gathering in a plenary session Friday evening.
Akers last August was told by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk to publicly disassociate herself from the issue of women’s ordination or lose her ability to continue making any presentations or teaching for credit in any archdiocesan-related institution.
At a late night meeting of the House Rules Committee, it was decided to allow the Stupak Amendment to come to a vote on the floor. The Stupak Amendment will conclusively bar any federal funds from going to support abortion coverage in the health care reform. It actually goes further and bars any of the private plans that participate in the planned “exchanges” from offering abortion services.
Some progressive members of the Democratic Caucus are threatening to withhold support from the final bill is the Stupak Amendment passes, which it is expected to do. But, I suspect the President will be able to rally them at the last minute and keep them on board. The Democratic Party has come so close to passing universal health insurance, closer than ever before, it is inconceivable that any but the most determined pro-choice members will bail on the bill now.
Jim Fitzgerald, the new executive director of Call to Action for the first time in his new role stood before more than 2,000 gathered delegates to the 2009 conference held in Milwaukee this weekend.
These were his remarks:
Good evening Call To Action! Peace be with you.
As I complete my first 12 weeks as Call To Action’s new Executive Director, in this month of Thanksgiving, I find so much for which to be grateful.
The plan to develop a new Kansas City Plant cleared a key step on Friday.
Meeting in a room full of supporters and critics alike the city’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) unanimously voted to approve a development agreement for the new property, located about 13 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Mo.
“We live in a real world that is a dangerous world, and there are threats of all kinds,” said PIEA member Charles Erickson. “A facility of this type may, unfortunately, be necessary to preserve our way of life.”
As reported on this site, the Kansas City Plant is a major nuclear weapons manufacturing center located about 5 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Mo. The plant is planned to be relocated to a newly developed facility further south.