Catholic Health Assn Backing Pro-Abortion HCR Bill Causes Pro-Life Dem Flip-Flop

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

Catholic Health Assn Backing Pro-Abortion HCR Bill Causes Pro-Life Dem Flip-Flop

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The Catholic Health Association is coming under fire from pro-life Catholic leaders for backing the Senate pro-abortion health care bill. While the Catholic bishops and pro-life Catholic groups have consistently opposed the legislation, CHA endorsed the bill and its already causing one Democratic lawmaker to weaken.

Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, a network of Catholic hospitals, issued a statement saying the Senate bill doesn’t fund abortions and should be approved.

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."

And he took on CHA and other Catholic groups like Catholics United directly.

"Groups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as ‘Catholic’ or ‘prolife’ that endorse the Senate version — whatever their intentions — are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church," he said.

Chaput accused these groups of "undermining the witness of the Catholic community; and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health-care reform."

"By their public actions, they create confusion at exactly the moment Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health-care debate. They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation," he added.

Meanwhile, pro-life Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia appears to have been swayed by the endorsement. He released a new statement saying he is fine with the Senate language that funds and promotes abortions.

"I have plenty of serious problems with the Senate bill and, until I see the final language, I cannot take a position on final passage," Perriello said in his statement. "But the existing language on abortion in the current Senate bill meets the pledge I made to ensure no federal funding for abortion in this health care bill."

"As health care experts and pro-life leaders agree, the abortion language in the Senate bill upholds the Hyde Amendment standard," Perriello claimed. "The Senate health care bill prevents federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, as the Catholic Hospital Association and legal experts have recently stated and as my own research has confirmed."

Catholic writer Deal Hudson noticed the divide between the bishops and groups like CHA and others.

"That funding has been publicly acknowledged and condemned by the USCCB and numerous bishops individually," he said.

"We have also witnessed the support given the Senate health care bill by the trade association for Catholic hospitals — the Catholic Health Association — led by Sr. Carol Keehan," he added. "Since CHA represents over 600 Catholic hospitals and has for many years been closely associated with the USCCB, its opposition to the bishops’ position must have come as a shock to them."

Cardinal Francis George also criticized CHA, saying the bill fails to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and 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.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.