Catholic Health Association Backs Phony Casey Abortion Funding Compromise

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 18, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Health Association Backs Phony Casey Abortion Funding Compromise

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 18
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Catholic Health Association is backing the phony compromise on abortion funding in the Senate health care bill released by Sen. Bob Casey and rejected by Sen. Ben Nelson and pro-life groups. The group released a statement yesterday that is sure to raise the eyebrows of pro-life Catholics.

The compromise from Casey is an attempt to get Nelson on board with the pro-abortion health care bill that contains massive abortion funding.

Sr. Carol Keehan, the president of the CHA said that, although she hasn’t seen the text of the Casey proposal, "we are encouraged by recent deliberations and the outline Senator Casey is developing."

Keehan claimed that "now that a public health insurance option is no longer on the table, we are increasingly confident that Senator Casey’s language can achieve the objective of no federal funding for abortion."

"It is our understanding that the language now being written would prohibit federal funding of abortion," Keehan said.

But that’s not at all the case, according to those who have seen the language and provided their analysis.

Nelson himself said yesterday that the language "isn’t sufficient" and "the basic question on funding for abortion hasn’t been answered yet."

Also, National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson said the language is "unacceptable" and called it a "far cry from the Stupak Amendment" because it "would break from the long-established principles of the Hyde Amendment by providing federal subsidies for health plans that cover abortion on demand."

Other pro-life groups including the Family Research Council and Nebraska Right to Life confirmed the Casey language did not "prohibit federal funding of abortion," as Keehan maintained.

Also, in an interview on Wednesday, Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the bishops appreciated the goals of some of Casey’s proposal, but that they did not actually stop taxpayer funding of abortion. As a result, the USCCB could not sign off on it with their support.

Catholic writer Deal Hudon told Friday afternoon that the Catholic Health Association is making a mistake.

"Although its endorsement has earned it the fawning praise of notorious critics of the Catholic Church such as Amy Sullivan of Time Magazine, the Catholic Health Association does not represent the teaching of the Catholic Church on the non- negotiable defense of innocent life," he said.

"Moreover, it does not represent the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has clearly stated that the only acceptable language concerning abortion in the federal health care bill is the language of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment," he added.

Hudonson continued: "It is utterly offensive to think that any Catholic organization would actively support the Casey Amendment – or any amendment – whose language makes abortion the default position of the federal government."

Meanwhile, in her statement, Keehan says, "As we understand it, the Senate intends to keep the President’s commitment that no federal funds will pay for abortions and in addition, provide significant new support for pregnant women."

The statement is curious because the Senate has actually rejected the Nelson amendment to ensure no federal funds pay for abortions.

And President Barack Obama has already repeatedly violated his supposed "commitment" to not fund abortions — by endorsing the bill with abortion funding and signing a bill yesterday that overturns the ban on federal funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

Keehan said the group "urge[s] Congress to continue its work toward the goal of health reform that protects life at all stages," but her endorsement of the Casey language would undermine that principle.

This isn’t the first time Keehan has raised eyebrows.

She caused controversy last December when she defended President Barack Obama against criticism from pro-lifers and praised his choices of pro-abortion Health and Human Services secretary Tom Daschle and deputy health care director Jeanne Lambrew.

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