Patrick Kennedy Says Bishops Not Pro-Life for Opposing Pro-Abortion Health Care

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Patrick Kennedy Says Bishops Not Pro-Life for Opposing Pro-Abortion Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Congressman Patrick Kennedy has a message for the nation’s Catholic bishops: You’re not pro-life. That’s the Rhode Island lawmaker’s reaction to a promise from the bishops to vigorously oppose the health care bills in Congress unless amendments are added to remove abortion funding.

Kennedy told CNS News in an interview that the Catholic Church is fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” by taking the position.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person–that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told the conservative news outlet.

“You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life?” he continued.

"If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive. So this is an absolute red herring and I don’t think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discord and I don’t think it’s productive at all," he told CNS News.

Kennedy’s comments come in response to an October 8 letter informing them that all of the health care bills still fail their test of not funding abortions.

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 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.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.