Catholic Bishops, Congressman: Allow Vote to Cut Abortion Funding From Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 14, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops, Congressman: Allow Vote to Cut Abortion Funding From Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 14
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life congressman and the nation’s Catholic bishops are asking House Democratic leaders to allow a vote on an amendment that would cut the taxpayer-funding of abortions found in one of the three House health care bills that will be voted on after the Congressional recess.

As reported today, House Democrats appear unlikely to allow a vote on an amendment from pro-life Reps. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, and Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, to remove abortion funding from HR 3200.

At the end of a letter Cardinal Justin Rigali, the head of the pro-life office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent to members of the House, he urges allowing a vote on the amendment.

He explained that, under the bill, "federal taxpayer funds will subsidize the operating budget and provider networks that expand access to abortions."

"Government will force low-income Americans to subsidize abortions for others (and abortion coverage for themselves) even if they find abortion morally abhorrent," Cardinal Rigali explained.

"I urge you to help ensure that any legislation that comes up for a vote in the full House does not include these unacceptable features. Please support amendments to correct them, and oppose any rule for consideration of H.R. 3200 that would block such amendments," the Catholic leader continued.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue says any refusal to allow a vote on the amendment could sink the health care restructuring bill entirely.

He says President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are "apparently willing to sink health care reform before ever excluding abortion from the final bill."

Donohue pointed to the new White House "Reality Check" site and noted that it does not include any rebuttal information to the fact that abortion funding is included in the house health care bill.

"There’s a reason for that—every time an amendment has been introduced to formally exclude abortion, it has been defeated," he said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican who is the leader of the conservative caucus in the House, is asking for the vote to be allowed.

"Stupak has called for that amendment, but the House leadership may be uncomfortable permitting a vote on it," the Indianapolis Star reported after interviewing Pence. "It’s hard for pro-choice advocates, or those in the middle, to understand, but pro-lifers are convinced that babies are being killed in the womb. They don’t want to pay for it with tax money."

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