On March 17th, Congressman Dale Kildee of Michigan announced he will cast a yes vote on health care. Kildee, a pro-life Democrat, was considered a question mark after voting for the Stupak-Pitts abortion amendment in the House version of the health care bill.
Kildee, who has a liberal voting record except on abortion, has said he is “a staunch pro-life member of Congress.” First elected in 1976, Kildee has never faced a serious primary or general election challenge. Throughout his 33 years in office he has been an advocate for children and on labor issues. Kildee, a Roman Catholic, is known for his strong pro-life stance.
In his written statement Kildee said, “There is nothing more pro-life than protecting the lives of 31 million Americans. Voting for this bill in no way diminishes my pro-life voting record or undermines my beliefs. I am a staunch pro-life member of Congress — both for the born and the unborn.”
The announcement by Kildee adds to the growing list of House members who have committed to voting for the bill after being considered on the fence. Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) announced his support for the bill, as did Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.). Perriello also backed the Stupak-Pitts amendment in November, 2009.
While support for passage of the bill is growing in Congress, another announcement may be as significant. A consortium of 60 leaders of Catholic religious orders representing 59,000 nuns sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to pass the bill. This is in direct opposition to the stance of The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which says the bill’s anti-abortion provisions are not strong enough.