Catholic Bishops: Politico Wrong on Its Position on Health Care Bill, Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
March 10, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new reports earlier this week in the political web site Politico caused a stir in the pro-life movement. Politico’s report made it appear the nation’s Catholic bishops would lend their voice to the Senate health care bill should its provisions funding abortion be removed.
The story quoted Richard Doerflinger, an associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who is a pro-life policy expert.
Doerflinger said the bishops would support a move either in the reconciliation or in a separate bill to insert the Stupak amendment banning abortion funding into the Senate health care bill.
The question at the time was whether Republicans and Democrats would come together to allow a vote (Republicans have since said they will not).
If the Stupak amendment or something equivalent to it were in the reconciliation package on the Senate floor and it was necessary to get 60 votes to waive the point of order, Doerflinger told Politico. "We would strongly urge everyone, Democratic and Republican, to vote to waive the point of order.
What caused confusion was additional verbiage from Politico saying the bishops would "advance the shared goal with Democrats of health care reform."
That caused some pro-life advocates to wrongly believe the bishops would then support the overall health care bill — even though it has other pro-life concerns.
In a statement the USCCB released to the Catholic Key blog, a bishops’ representative corrects the record.
"Recently a reporter asked the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops whether, if the House of Representatives sent a health care reform bill to the Senate that includes acceptable pro-life language like the Stupak amendment, the Conference would defend the pro-life language against efforts by members of either political party to strike it from the bill. The staff answered yes," the statement says.
"Some took that answer out of context, and misinterpreted it as a commitment by the bishops to endorse an overall health care bill as long as it includes pro-life language. No such position has been taken," it continues.
"The Conference has said the Senate-passed health care bill fails our moral criteria and must be changed; if changes do occur the bishops would study the new bill, then develop a position based on our moral criteria," the USCCB concluded.
The Catholic Key also indicated the USCCB produced a one-page document outlining the numerous problems with the Senate health care bill in terms of abortion funding.
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