Catholic Health Association Endorses Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 12, 2010   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Health Association Endorses Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 12
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Catholic Health Association is coming under fire today for releasing a statement not only endorsing the pro-abortion Senate health care bill but issuing a misleading statement making it appear the bill does not fund abortions. The head of a national pro-life organization disabused the CHA in response.

Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, a network of Catholic hospitals, issued the new statement.

"The time is now for health reform," the statement backing the bill said.

Keehan recalled how, earlier this month, she watched pro-abortion President Barack Obama make the case for the bill and she agreed with him that it deserves support.

Although she admitted the bill is far from perfect, Keehan said the measure, which funds abortions and promotes abortions, "is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans."

To justify the Catholic Health Association’s support for the pro-abortion bill, Keehan misrepresented the language in the Senate measure the House plans to railroad through its body next week.

"The bill now being considered allows people buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal check for the cost of that coverage," she claimed.

Despite the endorsement of the pro-abortion bill, Keehan claimed CHA hasn’t diluted its pro-life stance.

"On the moral issue of abortion, there is no disagreement," Keehan contends. "On the technical issue of whether this bill prevents federal funding of abortions, we differ with Right to Life."

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, spoke with LifeNews.com about Keehan’s statement and dismissed the so-called segregation of funds as an accounting gimmick.

"The House and Senate bills do not merely differ on a ‘technical issue,’as Carol Keehan would have people believe," he said. "This is another regrettably attempt to minimize the substantive issues involved in order to smooth the way for the Obama legislation."

"In reality, the Senate bill contains multiple pro-abortion provisions, which in total constitute the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation to reach the House floor since Roe v. Wade," Johnson added.

Johnson pointed to the new memo from the Catholic bishops to Congress agreeing that "the Senate bill would result in direct federal funding of elective abortions, federal subsidies for plans that cover elective abortions (including some federally administered plans), and authority for federal officials to mandate inclusion of abortion coverage in private plans."

He has written a detailed analysis of the myriad of ways in which the Senate bill forces Americans to pay for abortions and could force insurance companies to cover them.

Johnson told AP he doesn’t think the CHA endorsement will make a big difference because the Catholic bishops and Catholic pro-life groups oppose the bill and they are urging millions of pro-life Catholics to contact Congress to oppose the bill or motions to approve the bill.

"No Catholic hospital executive has ever turned out hundreds of volunteers to man the phone banks or walk the precincts for an endangered congressman or his challenger," Johnson said.

The CHA endorsement does provide some concerns for pro-life advocates because there is the fear some lawmakers could use it as cover to support the Senate bill, even though every legitimate Catholic pro-life organization opposes it.

This isn’t the first time the Catholic Health Association has come under fire for breaking with the Catholic bishops and the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church.

Keehan, last year, applauded Obama’s selection of pro-abortion former Sen. Tom Daschle as his initial choice for secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

Obama initially named Daschle in November to the post, where he will likely help Obama rescind the protections the Bush administration is putting in place any day now for pro-life doctors and medical centers.

Daschle is a strong abortion advocate whose record was so poor that the National Right to Life Committee never gave him higher than a 27 percent pro-life voting record during his tenure in Congress.

Later, the Catholic Health Association backed the phony compromise on abortion funding in the Senate health care bill released by Sen. Bob Casey and rejected by pro-life groups.

ACTION: Contact the Catholic Health Association with your objections at http://www.chausa.org/contenttwocolumn.aspx?pageid=211

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