Catholic Bishops’ Letter Reinforces Abortion Concerns After Obama Admin Flap

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops’ Letter Reinforces Abortion Concerns After Obama Admin Flap

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The nation’s Catholic bishops have sent another letter to members of Congress informing them that all of the health care bills still fail their test of not funding abortions. The letter comes after the Obama administration misled reporters in the answer to a question about abortion funding in the health care bills.

The bishops urged Congress to "improve current health care reform legislation, expressing their “disappointment that progress has not been made on" the abortion funding concerns cited in their previous letters.

The October 8 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop John Wester reiterated the bishops’ main concern that no one should be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion.

The bishops reaffirmed their commitment to working with Congress and the Administration toward genuine health care reform, but stated, “If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.”

Their letter, provided to, urged lawmakers to "exclude mandated coverage for abortion" saying they want the bills to "incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights."

"It is essential that the legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience. No current bill meets this test," they noted.

“We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria,” wrote the bishops. “However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes.”

The bishops wrote that “Catholic moral tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity.

The text of their letter added "Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.”

The letter follows on the heels of President Barack Obama’s top spokesman misleading reporters about abortion funding in health care.

Yesterday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the Hyde Amendment would prevent taxpayer-funding of abortions in the health care legislation, but the Hyde amendment doesn’t apply to the bills.

It only comes into effect in the HHS legislation that covers Medicare.

Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Wester chair the U.S. bishops’ committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and Immigration, respectively.

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