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US bishops’ conference welcomes Obama’s remarks on abortion, health care

Catholic World News - September 11, 2009

The associate director of pro-life activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCBC) has welcomed President Obama’s recent statement that under his health care reform proposal, federal funds would not be used to pay for abortions. “We especially welcome the President’s commitment to exclude federal funding of abortion, and to maintain existing federal laws protecting conscience rights in health care,” said Richard Doerflinger. During his September 9 health care address, President Barack Obama had said, “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up-- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

USCCB director of domestic social development Kathy Saile commented, “We agree that ‘no one should go broke because they get sick.’ That’s why the US Bishops have worked for decades for decent health care for all. The Catholic Church provides health care for millions, purchases health care, picks up the pieces of a failing health system, and has a long tradition of teaching on ethics in health care. Health care reform that respects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority. We welcome the president’s speech as an important contribution to this essential national debate and task.”

Saile added:

We agree with the President that there are details that need to be ironed out. And with his address last night, we see the opportunity to work towards 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. We also see the possibility of meeting the bishops’ goal to pursue the common good and preserve pluralism, including freedom of conscience and a variety of options, and restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.

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