It's been coming for weeks. For at least the third time in the year-long fight over health care reform, abortion has become the seemingly insuperable issue standing between Democrats and their signature agenda item. And now, as we inch closer to a final vote on health care, Catholic groups are getting into the fray -- and are opposing each other on the issue of reform.
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On one side, there is the Conference of Catholic Bishops, who take a conservative line on the issue. Like Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), they are adamantly opposed to the language in the Senate health care bill, and, back in November when the House passed its own legislation, the Bishops played a key role in inserting heavily restrictive abortion language at the last moment.
On the other side, however, other Catholic groups like the Catholic Hospital Association and about 60,000 nuns are chiming in--as are key pro-life Democrats who support the Senate language--and they're saying, in essence, ignore the Bishops, and pass this bill. The difference of opinion among Catholics could open up wiggle room for pro-life Dems looking for a way to support health care.