A Judas Moment? Did Senator Ben Nelson Just Sell his Vote for a Bag of Silver?


Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – I just received a sad, two line E-Mail letter from a woman whose dedication to the fundamental human rights issue of our age is second to none: “In the week before Christmas my country gave to me, abortion, paid for by me. I guess Senator Nelson didn't read your article about him. Bart Stupak is our last hope.”

She had apparently read the same report from the Washington Post which I had:


“Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, was prepared to announce to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.

"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to announce the deal.

Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with Nelson on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. But Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.

Asked if he was prepared to support the bill, Nelson said, "Yeah."


The remainder of the article detailed the elements of the proposed Health Reform package. There will be plenty of time to parse those other elements if indeed the measure is presented for a vote on Christmas Eve as planned. The question which millions of people who worked so hard to prevent the inclusion of abortion as “health care” in this Bill have is whether Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska caved. Did he sell out?

Did he actually take money in exchange for backing down on his commitment to not vote for any bill which allowed for federal tax money to be used to kill children in the womb in the name of “health care.”

If Senator Ben Nelson actually sold his vote for a bag of silver for Nebraska then this has become a “Judas moment” not a “Thomas More moment” and its implications are evil.

The timing of such a vote, coming on the Eve of the great day when the entire world celebrates the birth of a baby whose saving life, death and resurrection forever changed human history, is more than profane it is blasphemous! During those nine months in the womb this holy child was accomplishing for every man, woman and child what we could never have accomplished for ourselves.

This “Redeemer in the Womb”, whose Nativity we celebrate as the great moment of liberation, identifies with every child in every womb. His time within the womb of His mother also sanctified every mother’s womb. His presence within that first living tabernacle of Mary’s womb makes every mother’s womb a habitation of holiness. It also reveals the truth; these children are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, and killing them in the name of health care is pure evil.

Every time we kill one of them in the name of “choice” we choose against love, against truth and against our own humanity. Now, if the news being reported proves to be accurate, tax payer money will be made available to do just that, kill children. That is what happens in every procured abortion.

The notion that people can somehow elect to not have their contribution go to such an evil act is nothing but a shell game. Once money goes into the fund it is fungible. The idea that your money can be separated out is a subterfuge.

We will watch closely to see just what really happened this Saturday morning, December 19, 2009. If Senator Nelson has succumbed to the lure of lucre he has just embraced a “Judas Moment” and rejected the invitation to demonstrate courage in an age of cowardice. We will report just how many silver pieces were in his bag. He will have joined the ranks of others such as unfaithful Catholic Christian Senator Mary Landrieu who also accepted a bag of silver.

However, the Associated Press just reported the following:


“A holdout no more, Sen. Ben Nelson agreed Saturday to provide the 60th and deciding vote for Senate passage of sweeping health care legislation, capping a year of struggle and a final burst of deadline bargaining.

Nelson, D-Neb., said he made his decision after winning fresh concessions to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold in newly created exchanges.

"I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree. But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions," he said at a news conference in the Capitol.”


However this story turns out, make no mistake, the struggle is not over. The people of life cannot and will not back down. This is not about a “single issue” this is about protecting the lives of our first neighbors to whom we owe an obligation in solidarity.

If the U.S. chooses to walk down the road of federalized health care - and there are many other reasons to question its wisdom such as the proper application of the principle of subsidiarity and concerns over rationing - children in the womb should be covered under the plan, not killed. Our Bishops expressed it succinctly, “killing is not health care!”