Sr. Keehan receives presidential pen for supporting health care despite bishops' objections

Presidential pen. Inset: Sr. Carol Keehan
Presidential pen. Inset: Sr. Carol Keehan

.- Sister Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association, has been awarded with one of the 21 pens used by President Barack Obama on Tuesday to sign the health care bill.

It is a presidential tradition to give out the pens used to sign the bill to lawmakers and proponents who have played a key role in any piece of major legislation.

“I have got to use every pen, so it’s going to take a long time,” said President Obama during the ceremony held at the White House's East Room.

Sister Keehan, who strongly supported the controversial health care bill despite the opposition of the U.S. bishops, was joined in receiving presidential pens by some of the most strongly pro-abortion members of the Congress:  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Senator Dick Durbin, majority whip; Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee; Senators Tom Harkin and Christopher Dodd; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer;  James Clyburn, majority whip; George Miller, chairman of the Education committee; Henry Waxman, chairman of Energy and Commerce; Sander Levin, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; John Dingell and Charles Rangel, former chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

The list of pen recipients also includes Vice President Joe Biden; HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Nancy Ann DeParle, health adviser to the president; Phil Schiliro, legislative liaison for the White House; Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and President Obama himself.

During the ceremony, President Obama did not sign the executive order on abortion negotiated with Congressman Bart Stupak.  According to White House officials, Obama will sign the order in the Oval Office, in private, on Wednesday afternoon.

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