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More Catholic Support for Health Care Reform

March 17, 2010, 11:58 am | Posted by Beth Dahlman

Right on the heels of the Catholic Health Association’s endorsement of the Senate bill, health care reform efforts got another boost from Catholic quarters today.

Sixty leaders of women religious (nuns) representing nearly 59,000 sisters sent a letter to all Members of Congress declaring support for the Senate bill and pushing back against some of the false claims surrounding the abortion provisions:

We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment…Despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions, it will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments — $250 million — in support of pregnant women. This is the real pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.

You can read the letter and press release on NETWORK’s website, or view the full text and signatures below.

Text of letter from Catholic Sisters to Members of Congress:

Dear Members of Congress:

We write to urge you to cast a life-affirming “yes” vote when the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) comes to the floor of the House for a vote as early as this week. We join the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), which represents 1,200 Catholic sponsors, systems, facilities and related organizations, in saying: the time is now for health reform AND the Senate bill is a good way forward.

As the heads of major Catholic women’s religious order in the United States, we represent 59,000 Catholic Sisters in the United States who respond to needs of people in many ways. Among our other ministries we are responsible for running many of our nation’s hospital systems as well as free clinics throughout the country.

We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor. We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment.

The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all. It will invest in preventative care. It will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children. And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.

Congress must act. We are asking every member of our community to contact their congressional representatives this week. In this Lenten time, we have launched nationwide prayer vigils for health care reform. We are praying for those who currently lack health care. We are praying for the nearly 45,000 who will lose their lives this year if Congress fails to act. We are also praying for you and your fellow Members of Congress as you complete your work in the coming days. For us, this health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.

We urge you to vote “yes” for life by voting yes for health care reform in H.R. 3590.

Sincerely,

Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA

LCWR President

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Joan Chittister, OSB

Co-Chair Global Peace Initiative of Women

Erie, PA

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM

President

Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Scranton, PA

Sr. Susan Hadzima, IHM

Councilor for Missioning and Community Life

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Scranton, PA

Mary Genino (RSHM)

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

Western American Province.

Nancy Conway CSJ

Congregation Leadership Team

The Congregation of St. Joseph

Debra M. Sciano, SSND

Provincial Leader

Milwaukee Province, School Sisters of Notre Dame

Josephine Gaugier, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters

Holy Rosary Mission Chapter Prioress

Adrian, MI

Kathleen Nolan, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters

Office of the General Council

Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, President

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

La Crosse, WI

Corinne Weiss

Servants of Jesus Leadership Team

Saginaw MI

Adrian Dover OP

Prioress

Dominican Sisters of Houston, Texas

Rose Mary Dowling, FSM

President

Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Leadership Team

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(from Mary Martens, BVM

Administrative Assistant)

Beatrice Haines, OLVM

President, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters

Huntington IN

Joan Saalfeld, SNJM, Provincial

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

U.S.-Ontario Province

Jo’Ann De Quattro, SNJM

Sisters of the Holy Names

U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team

Sharon Simon, OP

President

Racine Dominicans

Maryann A. McMahon, O.P.

Vice President

Dominican Sisters of Racine, WI

Agnes Johnson, OP

Vice President

Racine Dominicans

Pat Mulcahey, OP

Prioress of Sinsinawa Dominicans

Pam Chiesa, PBVM

President

Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Patricia Anne Cloherty, PBVM

Leadership Team, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Gloria Inés Loya

Leadership Team

Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Gloria Marie Jones, OP

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

Congregational Prioress and Council

Mary Litell

Provincial Councilor

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity St. Francis Province

Theresa Sandok, OSM

Servants of Mary (Servite Sisters)

Ladysmith, Wisconsin

Sr Claire Graham SSS

General Director

Sisters of Social Service

Encino CA

Margaret Byrne CSJP – Congregation Leader

Teresa Donohue CSJP – Assistant Congregation Leader

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Sr. Carmelita Latiolais, S.E.C.

Sisters of the Eucharistic Covenant

Joan Mumaw, IHM – Vice President

On behalf of the Leadership Council

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Monroe, Michigan

Sister Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF

Sisters of the Holy Family

New Orleans, LA

Sister Marla Monahan, SND

Provincial

Sisters of Notre Dame

(St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, KY

and St. Charles Care Center in Covington, KY)

Vivien Linkhauer, SC

Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, United States Province

Greensburg, PA

Dolores Maguire

Sisters of the Holy Faith

Northern California LCWR Region XIV

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, OSB

Subprioress

Mount St. Scholastica

Atchison, KS

Marianites of Holy Cross

Sr. Suellen Tennyson, MSC

Congregational Leader

Barbara Hagedorn, SC

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio

Francine Schwarzenberger OP

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Denver, Colorado

Sister Maureen McCarthy

School Sisters of St. Francis

U.S. Provincial Team

Milwaukee, WI

Eileen C. Reid, RJM

Provincial Superior

Religious of Jesus and Mary

Washington DC

Sister Cecilia Dwyer, O.S.B.

Prioress

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

Sister Joann Sambs, CSA

General Superior

Sisters of St. Francis

Tiffin, Ohio

(from Sr. Mary Kuhlman)

Sr. Helen McDonald, SHCJ

Province Leader

Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Leadership Team

Sisters of the Precious Blood

Dayton, OH

The Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis

Sister Jane Blabolil, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Michelle Wronkowski, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Dorothy Pagosa, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Linda Szocik, SSJ-TOSF

Sr. Gladys Guenther SHF

Sisters of the Holy Family

Congregational President

Fremont, CA

Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, Councilor

Sisters of St. Dominic

Blauvelt New York

Sheral Marshall, OSF

Provincial Councilor

Sisters of St Francis

Marilyn Kerber, SNDdeN

Canonical Representative, Ohio Province

Sisters of St. Louis, California Region

(from Sr. Michele Harnett, SSL)

Ruth Goodwin, OSF

Sisters of ST. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Leadership Team

Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

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