Thursday, August 06, 2009

Deal Hudson: "Why Catholics Will Not Get Abortion Out of the Health Care Bill" [UPDATED]

Deal Hudson writes at Inside Catholic:
The Congress and the White House have little to fear from the bishops' official statements opposing the abortion provisions in the health care bill. Unlike with President Barack Obama's appearance at Notre Dame, there is no chorus of bishops' voices rising in protest against the bill; most of the Catholics in Congress support it, and mainstream Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association -- which some assume speak for the bishops -- have also voiced their support.

The overall impression given by Church leadership thus far is that universal health care coverage is so badly needed that they are not willing to endanger the legislation by protesting too loudly against abortion coverage.

The only notable resistance against the abortion provisions has come from a Catholic, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); an Evangelical, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN); and 20 "blue dog" Democrats, led by Catholic
Bart Stupak (D-MI), who signed a letter asking explicitly that abortion coverage be removed from the bill.

Two official letters from the USCCB have been sent to members of Congress. Bishop William Murphy, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Policy,
wrote on July 17 asking Congress to remove abortion coverage. And on July 26, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote asking them to support an amendment to exclude the abortion mandate from any health care bill.

Many Catholics are asking why Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association are backing a health care bill that two USCCB letters have sharply criticized for its abortion coverage. A LifeSiteNews (LSN)
interview with the head of another mainstream Catholic organization supporting the present health care bill may answer the question.

When told by the LSN interviewer that the health care bill included an abortion mandate, Roger Playwin, the national executive director of the venerable St. Vincent de Paul Society, replied:
The bishops' office has advised us that that's not accurate. So I can't speak to it, because all I know is that the bishops' office has said that story is going around, but it's inaccurate. That's all I know.
When asked for clarification about where he got that information, Playwin clarified that it did not come from the USCCB but rather from Catholic Charities USA. In other words, Playwin somehow received a message from Catholic Charities USA that abortion coverage was not contained in the House and Senate versions of the bill -- which is simply not true, as the letters from Bishop Murphy and Cardinal Rigali attest.

Yet both Catholic Charities USA and the St. Vincent de Paul Society
sent out legislative alerts asking for support for health care reform and did not mention the issue of abortion services.


(Hat tip: Chris Blosser at Catholics in the Public Square)

"Please Turn Me In to the White House"

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