Catholic Bishops Oppose Nelson-Reid Deal on Abortion Funding in Senate Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Oppose Nelson-Reid Deal on Abortion Funding in Senate Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 21
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Catholic bishops have issued a new statement responding to the so-called compromise deal on abortion funding struck by Harry Reid and Ben Nelson that still results in massive abortion funding. They join the national pro-life groups that have unanimously opposed the deal and the health care bill.

As reported extensively over the weekend, Nelson proposed abortion language Reid agreed to that will likely be adopted in Reid’s manager’s amendment.

The language allows states to opt out of abortion funding, but will force taxpayers to fund abortions in states that don’t and overturns limits on abortion funding in other instances.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City issued a joint statement saying, "The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form."

"Today a Manager’s Amendment was proposed to make final changes in that bill," they said. "The amendment includes some improvements from Senator Casey’s proposal, including adoption tax credits and assistance for pregnant women, but differs from that proposal in other ways."

"It does not seem to allow purchasers who exercise freedom of choice or of conscience to ‘opt out’ of abortion coverage in federally subsidized health plans that include such coverage," they continued. "Instead it will require purchasers of such plans to pay a distinct fee or surcharge which is extracted solely to help pay for other people’s abortions."

"Further the government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to longstanding law governing this agency," the Catholic bishops explained.

While they "appreciate the good-faith efforts" of Nelson to improve the bill, "our judgment is the same — to oppose the pro-abortion, government-run health care bill.

"This legislation should not move forward in its current form. It should be opposed unless and until such serious concerns have been addressed," the bishops say.

They promised to continued to ‘that 383-page amendment’s implications from the perspective of all the bishops’ moral concerns," including "protection of life and conscience."

"We will continue to work vigorously for authentic health care reform that clearly reflects these fundamental principles because such reform is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority," they concluded.

Early Monday morning, the Senate voted 60-40 to end the filibuster of the manager’s amendment containing the Reid-Nelson pro-abortion language. All Democrats voted for the cloture motion while all Republicans voted against it.

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