Cardinal: "No Way" Catholics in Congress Can Back Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Cardinal: "No Way" Catholics in Congress Can Back Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 25
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The outgoing head of the pro-life committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said recently there is "no way" Catholic members of Congress can vote for a health care reform bill that includes abortion funding.

During a press conference at the National Press Club on November 20, CNS News asked Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia if it would be a "mortal sin" for any Catholic to vote for the bill.

The question concerned the new Senate version of the legislation Harry Reid has proposed that contains massive abortion funding.

Rigali responded that the Catholic Church would like to see better health care that does not cover abortions, but "we make a distinction between health care and killing."

“So abortion is out of the question–as we’ve spoken about the value of human life. And everyone is called upon to do everything possible to see that when we are trying to get laudable health care … that abortion will be excluded from that," he said.

Rigali said Catholic members of Congress need to vote with a well-informed conscience that reminds them abortion is “absolutely wrong” and there is “no way in the world” a health care bill deserves support if it funds abortions.

“People have to follow their conscience, but their conscience has to be well-formed,” he said, according to CNS News.

“And you have to make sure that when it is a question of doing something that has a provision, if it has a provision in it for abortion, then this is absolutely wrong by every standard and not by the standards of the Catholic Church as you see here today. It’s the standards of Christian, standards of the natural law," he added.

Rigali said that, ultimately, if the Senate health care bill funds abortions, Catholics leaders would call for its "rejection" because even though "health reform is necessary" the reform "can’t be killing.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to members of the Senate before this past weekend’s vote.

The letter called the Reid bill "an enormous disappointment, creating new and completely unacceptable federal policy that endangers human life and rights of conscience." It also urged the addition of the House-passed Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the legislation.

Unless the pro-abortion components of the Reid bill are corrected, "the current legislation should be opposed," the letter read.

Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishop John Wester voiced their wish for better health care reform legislation that doesn’t violate pro-life principles.

They cited an “abortion surcharge” that would force insurance purchasers to pay for other people’s abortions, provisions that would allow the HHS Secretary to mandate unlimited abortion coverage nationwide, and that the bill does not even allow for religious institutions to offer their own employees coverage that conforms to their institution’s teaching.

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.