Catholic Health Association Backs Bill for Obamacare Abortion De-Funding

National   Steven Ertelt   Jan 25, 2011   |   7:02PM    Washington, DC

The Catholic Health Association didn’t believe abortion funding was in the final health care bill Congress approved last year and President Barack Obama signed into law, so it supported the bill. Now CHA is endorsing a measure that would remove the abortion funding from it.

Sr. Carol Keehan put forward the convoluted position in a new letter to Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, the sponsors of the legislation, sent yesterday.

“I am writing to applaud your efforts to ensure the protection of the unborn and of providers’ conscience rights,” Keehan writes. “We want to offer our support for your legislation, H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act.”

“While we continue to believe the current provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prevent federal funding of abortion, your legislation will provide further protection by codifying the “Hyde amendment” relative to the new health care reform law,” Keehan goes on to say. “We also appreciate the bill’s additions to the conscience protections which hospitals and health care providers already have under the Weldon Amendment. We look forward to working with you to ensure access to life-affirming health care coverage for
all.”

The Catholic Health Association came under fire from pro-life advocates for supporting the legislation and its final position for the bill is credited with providing the political cover former Rep. Bart Stupak and a group of pro-life Democrats needed to vote for the legislation in the face of opposition from every national pro-life organization and the Catholic bishops.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council noticed the new letter CHA sent and said it can’t ignore how Obamacare did not contain adequate safeguards to prevent abortion funding — hence, the reason for the Pitts bill.

“ObamaCare sidesteps the current rules on abortion funding by directly appropriating money to certain health programs. This way [the Obama administration] can bypass the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the government from subsidizing abortion,” he explained. “The Protect Life Act is like a Hyde Amendment 2.0. It would expand the ban across the whole government and make it permanent. If it’s enacted, HHS couldn’t use a single taxpayer cent for abortions or for health care plans that include abortion coverage.”

“The bill also makes it clear that the government (federal, state, or local) can’t discriminate against health care entities that object to abortion. What the Pitts-Lipinski bill does is bring back the pre-ObamaCare status quo, which keeps taxpayers out of the abortion business,” he added.

“And you can add the Catholic Health Association (CHA) to the long list of organizations who disagree with Secretary Sebelius. Yesterday, CHA, sent a letter of support to the Hill on the Pitts-Lipinski bill. CHA originally supported ObamaCare over the protests of the official Catholic Church voice in the debate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,’ he concluded.

Pitts of Pennsylvania, who heads a key subcommittee that will begin dismantling Obamacare, commented on the bill when he introduced it earlier this month.

“The law currently does not include a comprehensive prohibition on such funding.  Instead the bill contains accounting gimmicks that explicitly allow funding for abortion coverage,” Pitts said. “The Obama Executive Order reiterates those accounting gimmicks.  Without the “Protect Life Act,” PPACA will become the largest expansion of abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.”