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Stupak Won't Listen to Nuns--Or Other Women | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

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Stupak Won't Listen to Nuns--Or Other Women

Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak, the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus chair who is prepared to vote for health care reform legislation if it is amended to include sweeping new restrictions on access to abortions, was dealt another setback Saturday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi rejected proposals to allow side votes on issues such as abortion, which The Hill newspaper reported anti-choice members were seeking to trade for their votes for health-care legislation.

Stupak and his allies had hoped to use a separate vote on an "enrollment resolution" to attach anti-abortion to the legislation before it is signed by President Obama.

Stupak has not given up. He's talking about getting an executive order from President Obama in exchange for his vote on the House bill that is expected to see a vote Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime, Stupak, whose disdain for the right to women to make health-care choices has been very much on display in recent weeks, is taking time to express his disregard for an unlikely group of women: nuns.

Along with the Catholic Health Association and the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, leaders of Catholic religious orders that include 59,000 nuns have expressed support for the legislation that the House will consider.

Stupak's response: "When I'm drafting right to life language, I don't call up the nuns."

Who does Stupak "call up" when he is shaping legislation involving the health of women?

The congressman says he talks to "leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and The National Right to Life Committee."

Who is the National Right Right to Life Committee's legislative director (and the key player regarding congressional advocacy)? Douglas Johnson.

Founded by James Dobson and led by Jim Daly, Focus on the Family delivers its messaging on the health care debate via Focus on the Family Action, with vice president of Government and Public Policy Tom Minnery declaring this week that: "I am deeply concerned that a 'compromise' could leave us with a bill that creates a new taxpayer-funded abortion mandate."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is led by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who says the legislation "ought to be opposed in its current form."

What do all these gentlemen, with all their uncompromising positions, have in common?

Oh, right, the guys Stupak turns to for advice on how to legislate with regard to women's health are all guys.

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