Catholic Health Association President Defends OK for Pro-Abortion Obama Picks
by Steven Ertelt
December 16, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The president of the Catholic Health Association, Sister Carol Keehan, has issued a response to the pro-life advocates who are upset with her statement praising two pro-abortion picks by incoming president Barack Obama.
Instead of backing down from her position, Sister Keehan goes further by offering a defense of Obama as well as his new pro-abortion Health Secretary Tom Daschle and pro-abortion deputy health care director Jeanne Lambrew.
As LifeNews.com reported, Keehan issued a statement praising the Daschle and Lambrew picks even though Daschle has a long-standing pro-abortion record and Lambrew has received the praise of Planned Parenthood.
Replying to pro-life advocates who have complained, Keehan says her welcome and praise was "on the competence and commitment of these two senior people in health policy."
She says nothing of whether a promotion of unlimited abortions performed at taxpayer expense degrades the competency of Obama’s selections.
Keehan also claims that Obama and his selections will provide better health care for pregnant women and unborn children.
"They are committed to getting access to quality health care for all Americans, including pregnant women and their unborn babies," Keehan adds. "It is my belief that we … will prevent more abortions by ensuring tangible health care for pregnant women and their unborn babies."
However, Obama, as a member of the Senate, voted against exactly that.
On August 8, 2007, Obama voted against the Allard Amendment that would have written explicit language into the SCHIP statute to guarantee health coverage for women and unborn children. Sen. Joe Biden also voted against the health care coverage.
Keehan says her comments praising Obama’s selections don’t imply her endorsement of their pro-abortion positions. She simply wants to build bridges with them for common goals.
"While I wish the presidential nominees in the health care field shared CHAs pro-life position, they will be the lead health policy officials for our country," Keehan explains. "Honestly acknowledging an appointment and the competence of the person involved does not imply endorsing all their views on moral issues."
Yet, in her original statement, Keehan said nothing about objecting to the pro-abortion views of Obama, Daschle or Lambrew.
She also said nothing of their desire for a health care plan that could potentially require abortion coverage, pay for abortions at taxpayer expense, require Catholic hospitals or medical staff to do abortions or refer for them, or require Catholic health insurance plans to include abortion coverage.
The nation’s Catholic bishops have taken a different approach to Obama and his plans on abortion and health care.
During their annual meeting, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago spoke up about the threats to Catholic health care under a bill Obama says he would sign. He said he concerned that Obama’s potential signing of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act could put Catholic hospitals out of business by making them do abortions.
Keehan said nothing of those concerns in either her initial statement or her follow-up email.
Instead, she attacked LifeNews.com for drawing attention to the pro-abortion positions Obama’s picks take.
"LifeNews.com immediately focused on the appointees’ pro-choice positions and criticized my statement and exaggerated its implication. They encouraged their readers to protest," Keehan said.
She also accused LifeNews.com readers of sending her "disrespectful and abusive" emails and contended they were inaccurate. We received copies of numerous emails readers sent to Keehan and none of them displayed the tone she claimed.
Finally, Keehan sought to use Pope Benedict’s statement to Obama following the election to justify her own comments.
"Our Holy Father himself congratulated the President-elect and his Secretary of State did as well on his election as President," Keehan said.
Yet, Pope Benedict has also gone after the kind of population control campaigns Obama seeks to promote by funding the UNFPA program that has been involved in China’s one-child policy.
And the nation’s Catholic bishops issued a stern warning to Obama saying they would gladly work with him on common issues, but urged him not to promote abortion as president.
ACTION: Contact the Catholic Health Association with your concerns at Catholic Health Association, 1875 Eye St., NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006-5409, call (202) 296-3993, or email Sister Carol Keehan at [email protected].
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