Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, an umbrella advocacy group of women’s religious orders, will be speaking during a conference call with journalists today at 2:30. She will be joined by Morna Murray, president of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Francis X. Doyle, former associate general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and others. They will argue that the Senate health-care bill, which the House of Representatives is set to vote on this weekend, “does not provide federal funding for abortion.”

The Catholic Health Association and 60 heads of major Catholic women’s religious orders also have put out statements in support of the legislation, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has warned allows for taxpayer funding of abortion and does not contain strong enough conscience protection.

Yesterday, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious issued a statement supporting the bishops conference. The statement is reproduced below.

Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious

P.O. Box 4467

Washington, D.C. 20017-0467

March 17, 2010

In a March 15th statement, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on behalf of the United States Bishops in opposition to the Senate’s version of the health care legislation under consideration because of its expansion of abortion funding and its lack of adequate provision for conscience protection. Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church’s position on critical issues of health care reform.

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, believes the Bishops’ position is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment.  We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.

Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, R.S.M.


On behalf of the Membership of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious