Bishops Speak Out on ObamaCare
(Hat tip: PewSitter.com)
USCCB Statement Urges Universal Coverage, No Abortion, Total Conscience Rights:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops just released a July 17 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. It was sent to all members of Congress, the White House and Health and Human Services and addresses the conference' concerns on health care reform, emphases original:***[More]
... For decades, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform that leads to health care for all, including the weakest and most vulnerable. The bishops want to support health care reform. We have in the past and we always must insist that health care reform excludes abortion coverage or any other provisions that threaten the sanctity of life.
As Congress begins debate on health care reform the Catholic bishops of the United States offer the following criteria for fair and just health care reform. Health care reform needs to reflect basic ethical principles. We offer these as a guide:
• a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
• access for all with a special concern for the poor and inclusion of legal immigrants;
• pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and
• restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.
Respect for life and dignity: As we renew our longstanding support for reforming our nation’s health care system, we must also be clear that we strongly oppose inclusion of abortion as part of a national health care benefit. We would also oppose inclusion of technologies that similarly fail to uphold the sanctity and dignity of life. No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion. Any such action would be morally wrong. It also would be politically unwise. No health care legislation that compels Americans to pay for or participate in abortion will find sufficient votes to pass.
For decades, Congress has respected the right of health care providers to decline involvement in abortion or abortion referrals, without exception, and has respected moral and religious objections in other contexts as well. The Weldon amendment to the Labor/HHS appropriations act, approved by Congress each year since 2004, forbids any federal agency or program (or state or local government receiving federal funds under the act) to discriminate against individual or institutional health care providers or insurers because they decline to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortion. Programs, such as Medicaid, that provide funding for the rare “Hyde exception” abortions, also provide for participation in the program by health care providers who decline to provide any abortions at all. (For a compilation of such federal laws, see www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/abortion/crmay08.pdf.) Health care reform cannot be a vehicle for abandoning this consensus which respects freedom of conscience and honors our best American traditions. Any legislation should reflect longstanding and widely supported current policies on abortion funding, mandates and conscience protections because they represent sound morality, wise policy and political reality. Making the legislation “abortion- neutral” in this sense will be essential for widely accepted reform.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Apparently, the "Debate" is Over
Catholic Politicians Continue to Advance Abortion Lobby Agenda
Pelosi Accused of Muzzling Opposition to Taxpayer-Funded D.C. Abortions
Obama Culture of Death Update™: White House Budget Director "Not Prepared to Rule Out" Publicly Funded Abortion as Part of ObamaCare
Health-Care Rationing Violates Catholic Teaching
Human Events: "Abortion By Any Other Name Is In Health Care Bill"
Pro-Life Kudos to Michael Sean Winters
Chris Matthews: Obama Double-Crosses Pope; Abortion Coverage Could Jeopardize Health Reform [UPDATED]