CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, September 10, 2012 ( – A top lobbyist nun who backed President Obama’s federal health care bill in 2009 has said the question of whether abortion should be legal is “above my pay grade.”

NETWORK president Sr. Simone Campbell had appeared for a short speech at the Democratic National Convention last week after wrapping up a “Nuns on the Bus” touring campaign that painted Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as out of line with Catholic teaching.


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The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack questioned Campbell,  about whether she believed the Catholic teaching against abortion as a moral evil should be upheld in law.

“On the legal question, do you think there should be penalties against abortion doctors? I mean, should it be illegal to perform abortions?” asked TWS at the Charlotte, N.C. conference.

“That’s beyond my pay grade. I don’t know,” Campbell responded.

In 2009 Campbell had criticized a delay in passing the health care law over “insignificant details” while lawmakers wrangled over abortion and other issues in the massive bill. The following month, Campbell pushed for a budget proposal so heavy on family planning funding it was dubbed the “Planned Parenthood Economic Stimulus Plan” by the U.S. Bishops’ pro-life office.

The nun took the opportunity to criticize Ryan’s budget proposal, saying it “drives her nuts” that they claim to be pro-life while cutting entitlements.

“The fact is my vast preference is that all women would have the support to carry their babies to term,” she told TWS. “One of the things I find so horrifying in the Romney-Ryan budget is that they want to take those supports away. And then they claim they’re pro-life. That just drives me nuts!”

Campbell, whose organization is part of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) under Vatican audit, reiterated her support for Obamacare in her DNC speech as part of her “pro-life stance.”

“We all share responsibility to ensure that this vital health care reform law is properly implemented and that all governors expand Medicaid coverage so no more Margarets die from lack of care. This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do,” said Campbell.