Vote on Stupak Amendment

From a reader:

“Dear Fr. Z., This is huge, there is actually going to be a vote on the Stupak Amendment! We weren’t even sure that debate would be allowed. They are voting this very day! If you think it appropriate, would you get your wdtprs’ers rolling into action? Urge them to drop what they are doing and CALL their Congressman? Message-tell him or her to vote “YES” on the Stupak Amendment. Then later they can tell their reps to vote no on this gigantic mess of a health care bill.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Eric says:

    I hope if the Stupak amendment is adopted, that doesn’t give the pro-Reform people anough votes to pass the whole bill.

  2. Sandy says:

    I’m reading elsewhere that there’s a real circus going on with the “good guys” being silenced and the “bad guys” given all the leeway in the world. Please ask the Lord to allow the Blessed Mother (on her 1st Saturday) to go with angels to help defeat this whole mess!

  3. The Stupak amendment is smoke and mirros, and he really isn’t prolife- video of him at a townhall on telling them he will vote for the Pelosi bill even though it funds abortion. The USCCB is backing down and supporting the healthcare bill and giving these socalled prolife Dems political cover. What else do you expect?

  4. ckdexterhaven says:

    This is a joke and the “pro life” democrats know it. They’ll vote for the Stupak amendment, knowing full well, Pelosi and Obama will make sure abortion is paid for with taxpayer money down the line. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.

  5. Virgil says:

    Yay! Looks like we are clear. Or not? It looks like ++Rigali is affirming that the House Bill is cool.

    But I have a question: Where do we stand on the other 3 criteria that the bishops gave: (2) univeral converage, (3) conscience protections, and (4) inclusion of immigrants?

    I assume that the bishops’ support means that these are cool as well?

    Yet, I thought that the univeral element is in neither the House nor the Senate plans? I think both have some sort of subsidy for poor folks, but nothing even close to the imperative of univerality.

    And the immigrant coverage? Haven’t heard a word.

    Anyone have info?

  6. yatzer says:

    I sent an email to my Rep. I did try to call, but always got a busy signal. I can’t imagine this guy voting any other way, tho.

  7. Singing Mum says: makes it very easy.
    I typed in my zip code, got the direct line for my Rep, and left a message with one of his staffers, and it all took less than 3 minutes.

    Perfect for busy moms with little people tugging on them. :)

  8. ckdexterhaven says:

    Rep. Stupak: Health care has the votes whether anti-abortion amendment passes or fails. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) told reporters that regardless of the outcome of the vote on his amendment, which would severely restrict coverage of reproductive health issues, the House health care bill is headed for passage. He is whipping support for the amendment and estimates he has 225 votes. If he’s right, the amendment will pass, and he predicted enough pro-life Democrats will vote yes on the final bill to put it over the top. But if it fails, he said, *enough pro-lifers will have been satisfied to have had their vote on the floor that they’ll turn around and support the final bill anyway.*

    From the HuffPo.

  9. Peggy R says:

    I have a hard time supporting the Stupak amendment if it would help the bill pass. I understand the moral imperative that we not fund abortions. I pray rather the whole darned mess goes down in flames. St. Michael pray for us. I don’t think it matters much what the bill says about abortion. the Sec HHS will have leeway for administrative rulemaking. The whole mess is evil.

  10. gambletrainman says:

    I thought this was supposed to be Max Bauccus’ amendment. He kept saying he would not vote for the health care reform, unless the clause was put in to withdraw all funding for abortion, and was lining about 40 dems go go with him. Somehow Stupak decided to jump on the bandwagon. The Republicans say they are going to go against the bill, and that’s what Bauccus was aiming for. The Republicans plus his 40 Dems would equal the bill’s death.

  11. DisturbedMary says:

    It’s 7:30. We are past the Stupack amendment. The so-called pro-life Democrats compromised. They have begun now to “answer the call of history” as summoned by our President, the golden calf that 54% of catholics voted for. It is unbearable to watch our once God-blessed country moving further and further from life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My God we are such sheep. We are so easily led. We are heavy with denial. “Oh well, I’m an optimist” chirped a 70-something fellow-parishioner to me when I expressed my concern about the healthcare legislation….Can we still ask God to shed his grace on us?

  12. Fr Martin Fox says:

    If an amendment is offered to deal with the abortion-funding problem, then we must support it if it genuinely resolves that problem. We can’t give any congressman a pass to vote against that.

    Besides, the place where we’re going to stop the health care bill is the Senate with the filibuster (aren’t you glad the GOP failed to wreck it now?).

  13. GScheid says:

    Like to see a list of so called Catholics who voted against the amendment tonight–Kennedy, Pelosi?

    Thank God enough voted for the Abortion amendment!

  14. wanda says:

    House approves Stupak Amendment. I take it as a good and I give thanks for our Bishop’s strong stand on this whole issue. Thank you, Fr.Z. and all who have called and prayed. God bless you.

  15. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, the Stupak Amendment has passed, 240 Yeas, 194 Nays, 1 (John Shadegg (R-AZ)) present.

  16. Praised be Jesus, Mary and Joseph! God help us in the rest of this mess!

  17. The Stupak Amendment and the USCCB, thanks to RIgali- WE JUST GOT ROLLED BY PELOSI. The amendment was just cover for the so called pro life Dems, and there is NO GUARANTEE of its survival in the conference with the Senate when reconciliation takes place between this bill and what the senate has devised. The USCCB sold out faithful Cathol,ics in order to remian part ot the DNC- no principles as usual.

  18. Peggy R says:

    I apologize for my cynicism and anger: So, euthanasia’s okay with the USCCB? And health-rationing? And loss of families’ rights? And do they find it just to jail or fine individuals/families that do not follow Congress’ order to buy insurance? The fiscal burden now placed on future generations? The USCCB opposition was WAY TOO NARROW. They were tools.

    The NRLC put the GOP in a tough spot too. The pro-abort crowd wasn’t worried. That should have told us something.
    As Ray Arroyo has been predicting, Obie and Nancy can crow that abortion was not included today, as promised. It won’t last, however.

    Death and Evil won today.

  19. EXCHIEF says:

    What the Bishops should have done was oppose the entire health care reform bill based upon multiple moral deficiencies not just abortion. As noted, the abortion funding ban (sketchy at best) may not survive conferencing and even if it does a quick and sneaky follow-up bill (when folks aren’t watching) can restore abortion funding in a heartbeat.

    The social justice obsession of the mostly Democrat USCCB has given them “talking points” re their “success” in getting abortion funding striken from the House bil…and nothing more. They have won a battle and lost the war. The Bishops as a whole are not only derelict in their duty to teach true Catholicism, derelict in their duty to take to task in a meaningful way the Pelosi/Biden/Kennedy CINOS but they are pathetically politically naive. They have been sold a bill of goods and are too head in the sand to realize (that is if they care) that as GeoffsWife1962 stated they sold out faithful Catholics.

    All of the “gratitude” for the Bishops strong stand is misplaced and naive. The Bishops were and are pawns on the Democrats play board. Tragic!

  20. romancrusader says:

    May America rest in peace.


  21. Although this is maybe a “concession” that might (will?) be changed later, we cannot give up the fight and become complacent or demoralized…we must continue to challenge and fight the “culture of death” in all its manifestations and aberrations. Prayer, penance, and good works (including a continued communications with our representatives)…Bishop’s Conference or no…

  22. EXCHIEF says:

    Not to belabor the point but, frankly, the fight would be better off without the Bishops Conference. How many in the House voted for this morally unacceptable (remember there are more moral deficiencies with it than just abortion) bill because the Bishops said it was “OK” as long as the no abortion funding ammendment was included. We need to pray, do penance, and be vigilent as individual true believing Catholics. Counting on the Bishops for much of anything is hopeless.

  23. DisturbedMary says:

    Peggyr, Exchief, nazareth priest, geoffswife1962, I’m with you on the healthcare lie. Is this not the most deceitful and divisive issue in our Church today? Yet, here is what I’m reading in my parish bulletin this morning. “In the Christian community (our parish) there can be no division, anger, lack of forgiveness, no injustice, nor lack of compassion that keeps us from loving each other….” I’m going here for a laugh

  24. Father Ignotus says:

    The Stupak Amendment was likely nothing more than a Trojan Horse; once they passed it more reps voted for the bill than otherwise would have, enabling it to pass, and meanwhile there is no guarantee that that Amendment will be found in the final form of the legislation.

    We must intensify our battle now more than ever. Not only must we continue contacting our representatives in Congress but it would be good to give POSITIVE feedback to the USCCB to encourage them to continue the energetic fight.

  25. Girgadis says:

    I am perhaps seeing this issue in a different light than some of you. The very fact that the pro-abortion caucus is outraged that this amendment passed cannot be a bad thing. I watched some of the proceedings on C-Span last night (yes, baseball season is sadly over) and I felt encouraged that the pro-life movement is gaining some traction. When is the last time a group of Democrats inserted pro-life language into anything? Call me a pollyanna or what have you but I think this was huge. If you don’t think so, you might be encouraged by the sense of doom and gloom in liberal circles that this was a giant step backward for so-called “choice”.

    The real solution to our healthcare woes is to drive costs down. This can be done by allowing competition, by limiting malpractice AND by doctors policing their own inept colleagues, thus reducing the need for defensive medicine. By the way, when corporations, not doctors, dictate what treatment a patient may have, I would call that rationed healthcare.

  26. MikeM says:

    Don’t be so hard on the Bishops, folks. They had to face political realities and did what they could to make the bill that passed as acceptable as possible.

  27. wanda says:

    Girgadis “Call me a pollyanna or what have you but I think this was huge.”

    Thank you from another pollyanna-ish feeling pro-life Catholic.

  28. Sid says:

    The amendment having been passed (study the roll call:, expect the following:

    1. The pro-death bunch will blame chiefly one group: The Catholic Church.

    2. In turn, the (American) Kulturkampf against the Church will accelerate. And it will personal: brother against brother, friend against friend.

    3. The US Episcopal Church will gain many members from pro-death Catholics fleeing the Catholic Church.

  29. jmhj5 says:

    Life from conception to natural death…is that what we got?

  30. BobP says:

    Looks like the Democratic Party has finally accepted some pro-life candidates, and this is bad news for the Republicans. But that serves them right as it was the Republicans that brought Americans Roe vs Wade in the first place. Perhaps people can see right through the Republican hypocrisy, preaching against big government while allowing the corporate communists to do their abortion thing. If the status quo is maintained, you can bet insurance companies will continue funding abortions. Nancy Pelosi listened to the Catholic bishops and finally did something good.

  31. Antiquarian says:

    romancrusader said:

    “May America rest in peace.


    Nonsense. How very little you think of America if you believe this. The fight is not over and vigilance is necessary to maintain any pro-life content, but this is no more the death of America than the passage of Social Security or Medicare, both of which had the same claim being made by opponents.

  32. chorst01 says:

    In my humble opinion there are many positive features involved in the Stupak Amendent. First, it demonstrated the Catholic Church in the U.S. can still bring political power to bear. Second, the fact that a significant number of Democrats defied Pelozi reflects the fact that the political power of the Pro-life community is growing. Finally, the health bill was bound to pass in the House with or without the Stupak Amendment. With the Stupak Amendment it will be much more difficult for the Senate to pass a bill without protection for the unborn and more difficult to get a Conference bill without such protection.

  33. EXCHIEF says:

    I don’t think little of America and I do believe that we have lost what it means to be the United States of America. There is no equating social security and medicare to what the current administration is legislating. Social Security and medicare were designed to prolong life. The health care bill, if enacted, will have the opposite effect and not just in terms of the unborn but the elderly and infirm. Read the bill, even with the Stupak Ammendment. There are many morally (not politically but morally) troubling aspects to it. Add to that the fact that in the process which remains to enacting this law the Stupak Ammendment can and likely will be significantly watered down or eliminated.

    It is not just this so called health care bill that will change the USA. Other steps, already taken by Obama, have altered the moral fabric of this country significantly from what it was from 1776 until his reign began just 10 months ago. We have been “redefined” from the Christian nation we have always been to something other than that. Instead of a nation proud of having saved many others around the world we are now a nation to apologise for. The list goes on and on and most of the list has to do with morality rather than partisan politics.

  34. Jordanes says:

    Amending this bill so that it prevents federal funding of abortion is a good thing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it only makes a horrendously bad law that will bankrupt the U.S. and eliminate more freedom slightly less horrendous. Thankfully the House bill is a dead letter — the Senate has a lot of members whose seats are vulnerable (including Harry Reid), and for that reason will not be supporting any so-called health care reform bill. The House of Representatives failed yesterday, but there’s still a chance to squash health care “reform” in the Senate.

  35. BobP, you are out of your mind, blaming the Republicans for Roe v Wade. Pelosi hasn’t listened to the bishops at all, and certainly NOT His Holiness. This country got sold out for thirty pieces of silver, courtesy of Pelosi and her evil ilk, and that includes evedry so called Catholic politician that voted for the final bill.

  36. JonM says:

    It is of course good that explicit language forbidding abortion funding made it into this bill.

    Still, the issue of new bureaucratic committees determining when someone can and cannot receive medical treatment seems to, at least to me, contravene the stated purpose of the proposal (expanding access to medical care). Though some argue that one does not have to use the public option, the reality is that the bill mandates a level of ‘acceptable’ insurance that is simply too expensive for most people. Therefore, people will be corralled into the public option with little choice.

    Of course, this is to say nothing of the principle of subsidiarity that the proposed law flaunts.

  37. Geremia says:

    So, euthanasia’s okay with the USCCB? And health-rationing? And loss of families’ rights? And do they find it just to jail or fine individuals/families that do not follow Congress’ order to buy insurance? The fiscal burden now placed on future generations? The USCCB opposition was WAY TOO NARROW. They were tools.
    Comment by Peggy R — 7 November 2009 @ 11:30 pm

    Where are all the “neo-Dantes?” These events just demand an “Inferno 2.0″…

    Also, has anyone here actually read the Stupak amendment? To quote part of it:

    (a) In General.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
    (b) Option to Purchase Separate Supplemental Coverage or Plan

    Notice the “except” loophole. Abortion in cases of rape or incest is not justified under Catholic doctrine. Also, a “life-endangering physical condition” could be a hangnail, and no one would ever know because the woman could hide under privacy laws. It is absolutely unbelievable that the USCCB thinks this amendment is in accord with Catholic doctrine! This heresy, coupled with the USCCB’s pushing for the rest of the bill—with its euthanasia, “sex education” (i.e., promiscuity education), contraception advocation, racism, etc.—is not pro-life at all! Is not heresy grounds for excommunication?

  38. JonM says:


    That is interesting that the Stupak amendment allows for abortion in the cases of rape and incest. I’m unclear how ‘life of the mother’ is interpreted by the courts these days; that could mean that a morally just procedure be undertake – or the abortion mills roll along because mental depression is physical and can be life threatening.

    Whatever the case, if the USCCB approved the overall bill as a result of this amendment as some in the press stated, it would appear that conference contradicted a critical teaching. A child conceived as a result of something as terrible as rape or incest is still a human life worthy of the same protections as anyone else.

    We never want to pit ourselves against bishops and have to avoid going down that road because it is a road to perdition. Perhaps Father Z can clarify just what we owe (if anything) to the USCCB. It is my understanding it was envisioned simply as a coordinating group and not one that can interpret the Magisterium.

  39. EXCHIEF says:

    I too would like to read Fr Z’s take on what we owe the USCCB. My take is the same as Geremia’s. In their lust for the social justice “benefits’ (not!) of the overall health care bill it seems the Bps sold out on the issue of true Catholic teaching on the subject of abortion. It also seems to me that they ignored the many other immoral aspects of the bill. If that is in fact the case I cannot see how we owe the Bps anything other than criticism for their lack of leadership and lack of adherence to real Catholic teaching.

  40. Frank H says:

    I am pretty sure (not positive)that the Hyde amendment allowed exceptions (and federal funding) in cases of rape and incest. The Stupak Amendment tried to maintain the status quo (that is, the constraints imposed by Hyde), and not allow the expansion of the feds paying for all abortions.

  41. Francisco Cojuanco says:


    If the Stupak Amendment had all the language you desired, chances are it never would have seen the light of day. If this were being considered in say, Italy or Ireland, countires that have overwhelmingly Catholic majorities, it would have been acceptable. Unfortunately, the United States is about seventy-five percent Protestant – the exceptions are as usual, in order to allay them.

    Much as I would like to enshrine Catholic values into our legislation, we’re outnumbered three-to-one.

  42. EXCHIEF says:


    These are not just Catholic values. They are Judeo-Christian values of the sort this nation was founded upon. And they are values found in natural law. I understand political pragmantism but more than that I understand the need to be unwaivering on certain basic moral principles.

  43. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    Of course I hold to all the principles. The problem is how to get Protestants et al (many of whom are more accepting of the rape-and-incest pony show) to go along with the principles. For example, a Catholic Congressman could intoduce a constitutional amendment banning all abortions, in one stroke of the pen. Even in a Republican Congress, it would never get past committee.

    That’s why we’ve got to appreciate the little victories and use it as a vehicle to achieve even greater ones.

  44. Greg Smisek says:

    Geremia: “It is absolutely unbelievable that the USCCB thinks this amendment is in accord with Catholic doctrine!”

    The amended bill does not, of course, fully implement Catholic / natural law principles regarding the inviolability of human life from conception, but the USCCB has not claimed that it does.

    The support of the amendment was clearly an effort to limit the evil that would otherwise be perpetrated by the legislation, and it is in this sense that proposing, supporting, and voting for the amendment was “in accord with Catholic doctrine” (see below).

    While Cardinal George inaccurately claimed that the amendment would ensure that “no federal funds will be used to pay for elective abortions,” he accurately described the moral goal of preventing the bill from “expanding abortion funding or mandates.”

    Pope John Paul II, encyclical letter Evangelium vitae (1995), n. 73:

    Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize….

    In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to “take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it” (CDF, Declaration on Procured Abortion, Quaestio de abortu [1974], n. 22).

    A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations–particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation–there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

    CDF, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life (2002), n. 4 quotes from the encyclical above verbatim.

    CDF, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons (2003), n. 10 also quotes from the encyclical, but adds:

    This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

  45. Greg Smisek says:

    From Cybercast News Service, which has been following the Tobin-Kennedy affair closely, this is the list of the 50 Catholic congressmen that voted against the Stupak amendment:

    Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.); Xavier Becerra (D-Calif,); Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.); Robert Brady (D-Pa.); Michael Capuano (D-Mass); William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.); Gerry Connolly (D-Va.); Joe Courtney (D-Conn.); Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.); William Delahunt (D-Mass.); Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.); John Dingell (D-Mich.); Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.); Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.); Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.); John D. Hall (D-N.Y.); Phil Hare (D-Ill.); Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.); Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.); Patrick Kennedy (D-RI); Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio); Ann D. Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.); Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio); John Larson (D-Conn.); Manuel Luján (D-N.M.); Edward Markey (D-Mass.); Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.); Betty McCollum (D-Minn.); James McGovern (D-Mass.); George Miller (D-Calif.); Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.); James Moran (D-Va.); Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.); Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.); Frank Pallone (D-N.J.); Bill Pascrell (D-N.J); Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.); Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.); Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.); Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.); Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); Jose Serrano (D- N.Y.); Joe Sestak (D-Pa.); Jackie Speier (D- Calif.); Mike Thompson (D-Calif.); Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.); Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.); Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and Diane Watson (D-Calif.).

    See also the complete roll call.

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