Catholic Bishops Rep: Health Care Reform Bill Pro-Abortion on Funding, Conscience
by Steven Ertelt
January 8, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A representative of the nation’s Catholic bishops has a new opinion column published at the Washington Post telling how the health care reform bill in Congress is pro-abortion. Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the language of the bill makes her "sick."
"Catholic bishops have urged the government to reform our ailing health care system for decades. To do this, the House and Senate have now passed bills with this aim, bills that must be reconciled into one final bill," Walsh writes.
"But the present state of affairs is enough to make you sick. The gamesmanship in Congress relates more to politics than health and has created serious problems," she continues.
She says that, "despite bishops’ desire for health care reform, the proposed bills could turn the bishops from allies into opponents. So far, health care reform it is not."
The first major problem Walsh notes is that the health care bill pays for abortions.
The bishops have argued for an "abortion neutral" bill, so that no one can use health care reform to put money into elective abortions, but Walsh says that’s not what Congress has produced so far.
"The bishops appreciate the Hyde Amendment on abortion funding, which precludes using federal dollars for elective abortions or health plans that cover such abortions; they want similar language in health care reform legislation. Hyde, which passed first in 1976, tries to ensure what is becoming more and more understood in America, that no one should be forced to pay for another person’s abortion and that the government should not be in the abortion-funding business," Walsh writes in the Post.
"The Stupak Amendment in the House bill said it well when it declared in reference to elective abortions, that no funds authorized or appropriated by the House health care reform legislation ‘may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion,’" she continued.
Walsh also says the Congressional health care bill does not protect the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals.
"Under both the House and Senate bills, employers such as the Church, may be forced to provide for services that directly violate their teachings," she explains. "There is no way that the church should be required, within its own house, to purchase insurance plans that include procedures the Church opposes."
"Similarly, health care facilities and health care personnel have the right to operate according to their value systems," she says. "Among other things, the final bill needs language like that found in the Weldon Amendment, passed in 2004, that prevents federal and state governments from discriminating against hospitals, physicians and nurses that do not perform, refer for, or pay for abortion."
"Health care facilities and health care personnel have the right to operate according to a value system honoring each human life," she concludes.
Unfortunately for the Catholic bishops and pro-life advocates, Congress doesn’t have the same worldview.
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