Obama Advisor Axelrod: Catholic Bishops are Wrong
(CNSNews.com) - White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod on Wednesday night reiterated President Barack Obama’s claim that the health care bill before Congress does not fund abortion and said he hopes that the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops come to understand that the president’s assurances on this matter is “accurate.”(emphasis and editorial commentary added)
In his Wednesday night speech to Congress, Obama said he wanted to clear up the “misunderstanding” that the bill would allow federal funds to be used to pay for abortions. “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place,” Obama said.
Axelrod reiterated that statement to CNSNews.com after the speech. “We’ve talked to the bishops, and the president made his position clear on this,” Axelrod told CNSNews.com. “Hopefully, they will come to see that the assertion he made tonight is accurate.
“This should not be turned into a debate about abortion,” [ED. We don't want to get "distracted".] Axelrod said. “It’s about making sure people don’t get thrown off their insurance if they get sick. It’s about making sure if people have preexisting conditions they can still get insurance. This is about people not going broke if they become seriously ill, and this is about people who don’t have insurance having the opportunity to get it. And we ought not to be diverted [ED.: In other words, let's not get "distracted" by abortion].”
“I think the church has been a great progressive force on issues like this,” said Axelrod. Hopefully, bishops will see a way to support this (health care reform legislation).”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a letter to all members of Congress stating that the bill is unacceptable because it would provide federal funds to insurance carriers that provide abortions. The letter was signed by Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, who is the chairman of the bishops committee on pro-life activities.
Axelrod said he does not believe the Catholic Church is intentionally spreading misinformation [ED.: Ya think?], as the White House says other opponents of the legislation are doing [ED.: Well, if the Bishops aren't "intentionally spreading misinformation", then maybe the rest of us aren't either.].
“I think that they are earnestly trying to work their way through this issue,” Axelrod told CNSNews.com shortly after Obama addressed a joint session of Congress.
In his letter to House members on Aug. 11, Cardinal Justin Rigali noted that federal funds under the House health care bill will not be subject to the Hyde Amendment--a law that prohibits federal funding of abortions through Medicaid.
“Federal funds will subsidize the public plan, as well as private health plans that include abortion on demand,” Rigali wrote. Noting that the bill will require people buying federally funded health insurance plans that include abortion to also pay at least $1.00 themselves for the premium, Cardinal Rigali said some will use this as a pretext for arguing that the federal funds paying for the remainder of the premiums do not support abortion.
“Thus some will claim that federal taxpayer funds do not support abortion under the Act,” he wrote. “But this is an illusion. Funds paid into these plans are fungible, and federal taxpayer funds will subsidize the operating budget and provider networks that expand access to abortions.”
Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), who was elected in 2006 after running as a pro-life Democrat, believes the final version of a health care reform bill will explicitly prohibit abortion.
“In the end, I think the final bill we send the president will have language in it that is Hyde language or something very comparable to that. I think that’s what will happen,” Casey told CNSNews.com.
However, committees in both the House and Senate have already rejected amendments that explicitly prohibit federal money from going to health insurance plans that cover abortions.
Unless and until Hyde Amendment language is included in any health care reform bill, that bill covers abortion. Period. Plain and simple.
Past experience confirms this is true, which is why the Hyde Amendment had to be passed in the first place. The simple solution is to maintain the status quo by including Hyde Amendment language in the reform bill. Just reach "common ground" and put it in. But it is quite telling that the Democrat leaders in Congress have defeated every effort thus far to do so.
On the one hand, we have the Bishops, who - to say the least - have been around the block a few times on this issue. They are not ignorant. They don't "misunderstand" the issue. They don't need to "work their way through" it. They don't need to be brought around to "seeing" things the President's way. They know exactly what's going on.
On the other hand, the President and his chief advisor, quite simply, are not being truthful in claiming that abortion will not be covered under the health care bills currently before Congress. They consider abortion to be a "distraction", but they know they have to convince Catholics to support their efforts, while at the same time not alienating their key abortion industry constituents. They have every incentive to lie and mislead on this issue; the Bishops do not.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Pro-Life Catholic Dem: Prevent Abortion Funding, Or I'll Block Healthcare
Fake Pro-Life Group Third Way Claims Health Care Bills Will Reduce Abortions
Bishop Doran: Take to Heart Concerns Over Federal-Government-Run Health Care
Deal Hudson: "The Problems with Government-Run Healthcare
Some Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan
Archbishop Chaput Again: Health Care Reform That Funds Abortion Is Not Common Ground
Fr. Euteneuer's Response to Cecile Richards' Attack On Catholic Bishops
In Face of Planned Parenthood Attack, USCCB Official Insists Abortion is Not Health Care
Mainstream Media Spreads Untruths on Behalf of Obama: Newsday Claims Bishop Murphy Supports ObamaCare; Lies About Plan's Coverage of Abortion
Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood Attack U.S. Catholic Bishops for Defending Life
House Democrats Will Likely Prevent Vote to Remove Abortion From Health Care
U.K. Catholic Rag Admonishes U.S. Bishops: Back Barack on Health Care, Stop Getting "Distracted" by Abortion
Archbishop Chaput: ‘Common Ground’ Claim Will Be Tested by Details of Health Care Reform
"Common Ground" on Abortion
Religious Left: Do Not be "Distracted" by Abortion Coverage in ObamaCare
USCCB Prolife Chief Draws 'Lines in the Sand' on Healthcare
American Papist: Follow the Money to Determine Why Catholic Orgs Support ObamaCare Despite Inclusion of Abortion Coverage
Knights of Columbus Pass "Fishy" Resolution Opposing Any Health Care Reform That Funds Abortion
New York Archbishop: Church Will Have No Part in "Health Care" That Destroys Life
Deal Hudson: "Why Catholics Will Not Get Abortion Out of the Health Care Bill" [UPDATED]
Cardinal Rigali "Distracts" from Health Care Debate
A "Loud Silence"
Obama's Nun: Ignore "Insignificant Details", Pass Health Care Bill Now
LA Times: Next Hurdle in Healthcare "Debate" is Abortion
Dem Says Language Expressly Prohibiting Abortion Funding a Must in Health Care Bill [UPDATED]
Congressman Smith Warns Against Phony ‘Compromise’ on Abortion Mandates in ObamaCare
John Boehner: "Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Is Not Health-Care Reform"
Stop the Abortion Mandate
Bishops Speak Out on ObamaCare