Bishops Call on House Leaders to Allow Amendment to Stop Abortion in Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In its fourth letter to members of Congress in recent weeks an the health care bills and abortion founding, the nation’s Catholic bishops are calling on House leaders to allow a vote on an authentic amendment that would allow lawmakers a chance to remove abortion funding from HR 3962.
The legislation, as it stands now, contains massive abortion funding through both the public option and the affordability credits.
Moments before members of the House Rules Committee started their meeting to determine whether they would allow a vote on the pro-life Stupak amendment, include the phony Ellsworth amendment or allow no vote on abortion, the USCCB sent members a letter.
The bishops called for a fair process that would permit discussion of an amendment to keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections.
Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, who is the chairman of the bishops Domestic Justice Committee; Cardinal Justin Rigali, chair of the Committee on pro-life activities; and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City each signed off on the letter.
"We write to strongly urge you to vote for essential changes and a fair process in the House of Representatives to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all," they say. "Unfortunately, the legislation moving to the House floor falls fundamentally short of this essential goal."
‘We urge members of the House to support an amendment to keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections and to oppose a closed rule that would prevent the House from voting on this crucial matter," they wrote in the letter provided to LifeNews.com.
"We are concerned because the current legislation before the House of Representatives fails to keep in place the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortion or for plans that include elective abort," they say.
Those pro-life policies are currently embodied in the Hyde Amendment, Childrens Health Insurance Program, Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and other federal health initiatives.
Without the Stupak amendment in place to continue the current bans on taxpayer funding of abortion, the bishops say "we will have to oppose the current legislation until this fundamental flaw is remedied."
The bishops say that the public option in the bill includes abortion funding because the "H.R. 3962 allows the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to mandate that any ‘public option’ will include unlimited abortions."
"Federal subsidies will also be used to pay the overall costs of establishing and maintaining private health plans that cover elective abortions," they note.
"Millions of purchasers will be forced to use their premium dollars for abortion coverage they do not want, through a new mandatory fee," the add. "The creation of this ‘abortion surcharge,’ a mandatory payment requiring pro-life purchasers of many plans to pay directly and explicitly for abortion coverage, is unprecedented in federal law."
The bishops also note that "the legislation also requires each region of the insurance exchange to include at least one health plan with unlimited abortion, contrary to the policy of all other federal health programs."
Because of the abortion funding the bill contains, the bishops point out that "H.R. 3962 does not meet President Obamas commitment of barring use of federal dollars for abortion."
The letter was sent before news became public that Obama has endorsed the pro-abortion health care bill.
Related webs sites:
USCCB Pro-Life Office – https://usccb.org/prolife
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