A Catholic Lawyer Leaves the Sisters of Charity Board Over the Health Care Bill
By: Deal W. Hudson
Kevin Hall, an attorney in Columbia, SC, is a convert to the Catholic faith and has served on the board of the Sisters of Charity Foundation for eight years. He resigned from the board after the order joined a number of other women’s religious who endorsed the health care bill containing federal funding for abortion.
Providence Hospital in Columbia is owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity.
Kevin Hall’s letter of resignation, however, was sent to all the priests of the diocese of South Carolina and over 200 board members of all the Sisters of Charity foundations in Ohio, where they are headquartered, and South Carolina. Hall told me that he hopes other board members will begin to express similar concerns to the leadership of the order.
Hall also published an op-ed explaining his decision in The State, the leading newspaper in South Carolina. He made it clear that his position was the same as the Catholic bishops, as well as the ordinary, Bishop Guglielmone of Charleston. Rather than listening to the bishops,
“Providence and the Sisters of Charity ended up supporting a bill endorsed by the likes of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Such strange company should have been a clue to the sisters and Providence that their efforts were seriously misguided.”
Sr. Judith Ann Karam, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, responded to Hall in a subsequent op-ed saying she wanted to “clarify several unfortunate misstatements.” Sr. Karam maintained, “To say that we would support any legislation that would enable federal funds to be used for abortion is simply not true.” This is a strange assertion, since the federal funding for abortion in the bill is widely recognized by the bishops, pro-life groups, and the pro-abortion lobby.
Karam argues, essentially, that the bishops are wrong about the presence of abortion funding in the bill. The Sisters of Charity, she says, are “in accord with the Catholic Health Association and other health providers, that this law would not provide federal funding for abortions and includes many safeguards to ensure this does not happen.”
If there is no federal funding for abortion in the health care bill why would you need safeguards?
As Kevin Hall pointed out in his op-ed, it’s not by accident that Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, applauded the sisters who defied their “bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.” Would Richards be celebrating if the bill did not contain funding for abortion, i.e., “reproductive health care,” services? As Hall adds, “In Planned Parenthood’s parlance, ‘reproductive health care’ long has included aborting the lives of the unborn.
Hall’s resignation is one of several significant public responses to the defiance of Catholic medical institutions to the bishops’ opposition to the health care bill. The fact that Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, has receded from public view so quickly suggests that support is being withdrawn, and she is doing damage control. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI withdrew the two hospitals in his diocese from the CHA. Tobin did not mince his words:
“I am writing to request that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association as even the association with CHA is now embarrassing.”
Rev. Jay Scott Newman delivered a homily on March 21 at St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC containing a similar denunciation of St. Francis Hospital run by the Bon Secours Health System. Given its support of the health care bill, Father Newman said:
“Bon Secours Health System has now laid bare the terrible truth that St. Francis Hospital is a Catholic institution in name only. You may continue to need their services for medical reasons, but please do not make the mistake of supporting that institution simply because there is a crucifix on the wall. There is no essential difference between a secular hospital and a theoretically Catholic hospital when the latter does what the Bon Secours System has done: namely, accept and endorse material cooperation with evil against the teaching of the Bishops of the Catholic Church.”Father
Newman made national news after the 2008 election when he recommended confession for parishioners who had voted for Obama. Writing for his parish bulletin, Newman explained:”Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law.”
That evil, the killing of innocent life, has now received the official blessing of the Obama White House and the Congress controlled by the Democratic Party. The health care bill containing billions of dollars for abortions – funding explicitly denied by Sr. Keehan and Sr. Karam – will soon send the abortion rate in this nation skyrocketing.
The question remains, whether more bishops will remove their hospitals from membership in the CHA, whether more board members will step down from the Sisters of Charity, and whether more priests like Father Newman will be speaking plainly about the tragic consequences of the 2008 election.
See also LifeSiteNews’ coverage of Kevin Hall’s resignation.