Friday, July 31, 2009

Cardinal Rigali "Distracts" from Health Care Debate

U.S. Bishops warn against using 'abortion rights' agenda in health care reform:
Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2009 / 10:34 am (CNA).- The U.S. Bishops' Pro-life Committee chairman, Cardinal Justin Rigali, is calling on the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to amend the health care reform legislation so that it will not cover abortion and will protect the consciences of medical personnel.

Cardinal Rigali made the bishops' concerns known to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter sent on July 29.

With two House committees already finished with their recommendations for the House version of health care reform legislation, the cardinal's letter represents a final attempt to have Catholics' concerns heard in the House. Following the submission of the three House committees, the Senate will also have to approve legislation, which will then have to be reconciled with the House's bills.

While the U.S. bishops support health care reform, Cardinal Rigali stressed that it must be “genuine,” which he said means it must uphold “longstanding and widely supported policies against abortion funding and mandates, and in favor of conscience protection.”

“Much-needed reform must not become a vehicle for promoting an ‘abortion rights’ agenda or reversing longstanding current policies against federal abortion mandates and funding,” he insisted.

On the issue of abortion, the Philadelphia cardinal listed several problems.

Chief among the cardinal's concerns is that the legislation “delegates to the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to make abortion a basic or essential benefit in all health plans, or in the 'public plan' created by the legislation.”

“This would be a radical change,” Rigali stated, pointing out that “Federal law has long excluded most abortions from federal employees’ health benefits plans and places no requirement on private plans, most of which also decline to cover elective abortions.”

In addition, the bill would also authorize federal funds that do not pass through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill, which enables the funds to circumvent the Hyde amendment and other provisions that have “prevented direct federal funding of abortion for over three decades.”

The solution, the cardinal wrote, is to create a new provision against abortion funding for the current legislation. This would “ensure consistency with the policy in all other federal health programs.”

Finally, Cardinal Rigali said that the provisions that require timely access to all benefits covered by qualified health plans “could be used by courts to override and invalidate state laws regulating abortion, such as laws to ensure women’s safety and informed consent and those on promoting parental involvement.”

On the issue of protecting Americans' consciences, the cardinal reminded representatives that several federal laws “have long protected the conscience rights of health care providers.” Noting that President Obama recently stated that he accepts these current laws and will do nothing to weaken them, he called on Congress to “make the same pledge, by ensuring that this legislation will maintain protection for conscience rights.”

Cardinal Rigali closed his letter by urging the House Energy and Commerce Committee to uphold existing federal policies on abortion and protect consciences by supporting amendments by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA)

The full letter from Cardinal Rigali can be read at:
(emphasis added)

Related to this "distraction" from the Bishops is this post at For the Greater Glory:
... WHAT ABOUT ABORTION? Liberal Catholics don't want to be "distracted" by it but the fact is that we're about to pass a plan that will finance the murder of the unborn, that will extend the blessing of the federal government's purse on the great sacrament of the Democratic party.

Do they care? No, they don't. Not a whit. Minion couldn't care less if one or a thousand or a million people died through the murders of euthanasia or abortion. These are real concerns but Minion is a single-issue voter and care not for human life or anything else that stands in the way of his single-payer health care vision. He's not alone, either.

It's disgusting. For the record, I believe health care is a right and government needs to do something to provide coverage. I do have concerns that what's being proposed isn't going to cut costs or be terribly efficient due to the constant wheeling and dealing that's marked this process that seems catered more towards politics than truth. I am very concerned about health care rationing and would like to see Congress address those concerns for the sake of the dignity of life. But these are not the concerns of a capitalistic ideologue; these are Catholic concerns.

Indeed, health care without care for the human person threatens to be a monstrously evil and perverted system...
Michael then goes on to quote extensively from Pope Benedict before concluding:
Yet despite this, I'm to believe that the true upholder of the dignity of the human person pushes and promotes health care which actively denies the dignity of the human person?

It's time for liberal Catholics to stop fighting straw men and start dealing with abortion and euthanasia as real issues, not distractions, and a mere "sadly" describe the situation only emphasizes how indifferent you are. The current health care reform has no basis in any Catholic conception of the dignity of the human person and therefore will not do good, regardless of its pretended affirmation of the right to health care, and any Catholic with a conscience needs to strongly insist on the protection of human life or vote this thing to hell.
(emphasis added)

Well said.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
A "Loud Silence"

Obama's Nun: Ignore "Insignificant Details", Pass Health Care Bill Now

Bishops Speak Out on ObamaCare

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