Kaptur: Catholic Hospitals May Support Health Care Bill’s Abortion Language For Business Reasons

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Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) is an adamantly pro-life Democrat, who says the Senate health care bill’s abortion language is unacceptable to her. Though she voted “yes” on the House package in November, she’s now suggesting she might vote “no” on the final legislation.

That position puts her on the side of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, who oppose the Senate bill on the grounds that they believe it would expand federal funding of abortions. But earlier this week, another influential Catholic institution–the Catholic Hospital Association–came out in support of the Senate language. Yesterday evening, speaking to several reporters in the halls of the Capitol, Kaptur explained why she leans toward the Bishops’ position–and in doing so took a veiled swipe at the Hospitals.“I think the hospitals have a different perspective because they’re running large institutions,” Kaptur said. “They have a lot of issues at stake. They have to balance their budgets and so forth. I think that the Bishops are probably in a different position. I don’t think that they’re really managerially responsible for these institutions.”

The implication appears to be that CHA’s business interests helped determine their position on the abortion language. A call to CHA’s spokesman Fred Caeser was not immediately returned.

Kaptur said she’s spoken to Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), another pro-life Dem who’s signed off on the Senate’s abortion language, but didn’t find his reasons persuasive.

Whether or not Kaptur’s analysis of the Hospitals is correct, though, her statement came before this morning’s news that the Catholic Nuns joined the Hospitals in endorsing the Senate bill. Hard to see any business-related conflict of interest there.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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