Catholic Bishops Continue Opposing Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Continue Opposing Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The nation’s Catholic bishops at the USCCB and individual bishops from across the country are speaking out in opposition to the pro-abortion health care bill. They say they would appreciate a bill to improve the nation’s health care system but they can’t support one that includes abortion funding and promotion.

Late Monday, Cardinal Francis George released a new statement titled "The Cost is too High; the Loss is too Great."

"The Catholic Bishops of the United States have long and consistently advocated for the reform of the American health care system," he said.

But they have also "urged that all who are sick, injured or in need receive necessary and appropriate medical assistance, and that no one be deliberately killed through an expansion of federal funding of abortion itself or of insurance plans that cover abortion."

"The American people and the Catholic bishops have been promised that, in any final bill, no federal funds would be used for abortion and that the legal status quo would be respected," Cardinal George continued. "However, the bishops were left disappointed and puzzled to learn that the basis for any vote on health care will be the Senate bill passed on Christmas Eve" and "the Senate bill deliberately excludes the language of the Hyde amendment."

Cardinal George complained the Senate measure "expands federal funding and the role of the federal government in the provision of abortion procedures. In so doing, it forces all of us to become involved in an act that profoundly violates the conscience of many, the deliberate destruction of unwanted members of the human family still waiting to be born."

Although some media outlets have denied the Senate bill contains abortion funding, Cardinal George says the pro-abortion components are clear.

"In the Senate bill, there is the provision that only one of the proposed multi-state plans will not cover elective abortions – all other plans (including other multi-state plans) can do so, and receive federal tax credits," he explained.

"As the bill is written, the new funds it appropriates over the next five years, for Community Health Centers for example (Sec. 10503), will be available by statute for elective abortions, even though the present regulations do conform to the Hyde amendment," he added.

Cardinal George also explained that the bill fails to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and he says the Catholic Health Association was wrong to endorse the measure.

"Because these principles have not been respected, despite the good that the bill under consideration intends or might achieve, the Catholic bishops regretfully hold that it must be opposed unless and until these serious moral problems are addressed," he concludes.

Meanwhile, other bishops are speaking out pretty extensively against the health care bill because it funds and promotes abortion.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York says "the Senate version does not reflect the protections of the Hyde Amendment."

"We’re not the obstructionists here, since all we’re insisting upon is that the understanding that tax money not pay for abortions, in place since 1975, remains, " he continued. "It is instead those who have radically altered the debate to open a loophole to eliminate the Hyde Amendment who are risking the very fate of this legislation."

Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington also weighed in on the bill.

"Catholic teaching tells us that our support for the dignity of life includes access to affordable health care. This support, however, cannot come at the expense of the respect for life at all stages, from natural conception to natural death," he says.

And Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver says the bill "does not meet minimum moral standards " on "the exclusion of abortion funding and services and adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions."

"Do not be misled. The Senate version of health-care reform currently being pushed ahead by congressional leaders and the White House — despite public resistance and numerous moral concerns — is bad law; and not simply bad, but dangerous," Chaput says.

"It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community," he concludes.

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