Catholic Bishops Send Another Letter to Senate to Cut Abortion From Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
December 15, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The nation’s Catholic bishops are back with another letter to members of the Senate asking them to remove the language from the government-run health care bill that could pave the way for taxpayer funding of hundreds of thousands of abortions every year.
The bishops again urged senators to place Hyde Amendment-type language into proposed health care reform legislation.
They said the move would then place the health care bill in line with policies now governing all other federal health programs.
They made their request in a December 14 letter from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
A major problem with the current health care reform legislation in the Senate , Cardinal DiNardo said, is that it explicitly authorizes the use of federal funds to subsidize health plans covering elective abortions for the first time in history.
Health care reform is too urgently needed to be placed at risk by one lobbying groups insistence on changing the law. Before the Senate considers final votes on its health care reform legislation, please incorporate into this bill the longstanding and widely supported policies of current law, Cardinal DiNardo added.
In their letter, the bishops sought to clarify misrepresentation of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson and other pro-life lawmakers that the Senate ultimately defeated.
The bishops pointed out the irony that senators supported the policy of the Nelson/Hatch/Casey Amendment when they voted overwhelmingly for the Consolidated Appropriations Act on December 13.
Although that bill opened the door for funding abortions in the District of Columbia, the bishops noted that it contains Hyde language banning federal funding for health coverage that includes elective abortion, and maintains laws protecting conscience rights.
The letter also touched on pro-abortion objections to the Nelson amendment and the segregation of funds in the current bill that they say is the Hyde Amendment in it.
Concerning Hyde and other abortion funding limits, the bishops say: "Neither of these longstanding provisions says anything about segregating private and
federal funds within a health plan or benefits package. Attempts to achieve such segregation are irrelevant to current policy, which bars federal funds from being used for any part of a package that covers elective abortions."
The bishops conclude their letter by responding to criticism that their insistence on stopping taxpayer funding of abortion is hurting the goal of reforming health care.
"From the outset of the health care reform debate, we have not sought to use this legislation as a vehicle for advancing the pro-life cause and we have urged others not to use it to advance the pro-abortion cause," they say.
"While its abortion language has been called a compromise, it is only a
compromise between current law and a broader policy on abortion funding, as it explicitly authorizes the use of federal funds to subsidize health plans covering elective abortions for the first time in history," they say.
Related web sites:
Bishops’ letter – https://www.usccb.org/healthcare/DiNardo_1214_letter.pdf
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