A Pope Francis Doll Is Helping To Deliver A Health Care Letter Signed By Thousands Of Nuns

According to the nuns, the Republican health care bill is “the most harmful legislation to American families in our lifetimes."

Current health care proposals have been bashed by concerned parents of children with pre-existing conditionsrape and child abuse victims, and other worried Americans, and now over 7,000 nuns are joining the fight against the ACA repeal.

On July 24, 7,150 nuns signed a letter urging senators to vote "no" on the Republican health care bill, which was scheduled for a vote on July 25. Earlier today, per The Washington Post, Senate Republicans voted on a motion to proceed with debate on healthcare legislation, but haven't actually repealed, replaced, or passed anything. Yet.

In the nun's missive, which was organized by NETWORK — a Catholic social justice organization — thousands of Catholic sisters called the Republican health care bill "the most harmful legislation to American families in our lifetimes." 

The letter was delivered yesterday to all 100 Senate offices (including that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) along with a doll modeled after Pope Francis carrying a sign reading: "Let's have a come to Jesus moment."

NETWORK told A Plus that they've received positive feedback from both Democratic and Republican offices.

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Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK and author of the letter said, "The mission of Catholic Sisters has always been to serve our nation's most vulnerable people. As such, we are united in opposition to the current Republican healthcare proposals."

Aside from the damage the proposals themselves would inflict (such as loss of coverage for about 22 million Americans) one issue the sisters take with such proposals is the straightforward fact that there have simply been so many of them in recent months. "Since this letter was circulated, Senate leadership has repeatedly changed course — from the BCRA, to a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, to amendments of bills from 2015. This is not good governance," they write. "Rather than continuing to negotiate partisan legislation that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose access to health coverage, Congress should seek bipartisan solutions to expand quality, affordable coverage."

According to HuffPost, NETWORK, and Sister Campbell in particular, played a pivotal role in recruiting Catholic senators to support the Affordable Care Act in 2010. It's telling, then, that neither support any of the current repeal-and-replace plans.

"As Catholic women religious, we have witnessed firsthand the moral crisis of lack of quality, affordable healthcare in this country. We have seen early and avoidable deaths because of lack of insurance, prohibitive costs, and lack of access to quality care," the letter states. "We fought for the expansion of coverage in the Affordable Care Act because we saw the life-giving value of crucial healthcare programs such as Medicaid." 

In addition to the letter itself, several sisters released statements (via a NETWORK press release) explaining in more detail why they chose to sign such a document. "As a Roman Catholic and a School Sister of Notre Dame I'm called to work for a just society where all people have what they need for a fully human life. The proposed Republican healthcare bill violates that call by taking health services from children, the elderly, low-income families, and other vulnerable people," Sr. Barbara Pfarr, SSND, says. "We cannot let this go forward. Healthcare is a human right and must be respected and provided for."

And finally, in a follow-up letter released on July 25 urging senators to vote "no" on the motion to proceed, Sister Campbell wrote, "Our faith teaches that healthcare is a communal good and a right that all must enjoy to live in dignity. We urge you instead to work toward the common good by expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare through an open and bipartisan process."

The sisters also hope that their letter stirs members of their fatih to action.

"We hope this letter will encourage fellow Catholics and all members of the Senate to be bold in opposing this legislation that is bad for our people," communication coordinator Ashley Wilson told A Plus. "If more than 7,000 Catholic Sisters can come out and declare the harmful effects of this letter, it should be easy for Senators to do so as well."

Again, though nothing has been repealed, replaced, or passed just yet, we don't expect the thousands of nuns and millions of other Americans to stay quiet while the health care debate rages on.

This story has been updated with comments from NETWORK.

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