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US bishops launch massive effort to keep abortion out of health legislation

Catholic World News - January 12, 2010

Launching a massive 11th-hour effort to keep abortion out of the health care legislation that will emerge from a House-Senate conference committee, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin inserts and pulpit announcements to every parish in the nation. “Given the upcoming final votes, the U.S. bishops have asked that the attached USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert be printed or hand-stuffed in every parish bulletin and/or distributed in pews or at church entrances as soon as possible.”

“Outside the abortion context,” neither the House nor the Senate bill “has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers,” the bishops note. “These two bills must now be combined into one bill that both the House and Senate will vote on in final form. Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience protection, affordability, and immigrants’ access to health care must be part of a fair and just health care reform bill, or the final bill must be opposed.”

The insert urges the faithful to send the following message to members of the House of Representatives:

I am pleased that the House health care bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. I urge you to work to uphold essential provisions against abortion funding, to include full conscience protection and to assure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. Until and unless these criteria are met, I urge you to oppose the final bill.

Likewise, the faithful are urged to send the following message to members of the Senate:

I am deeply disappointed that the Senate health care bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience. I urge you to support essential provisions against abortion funding, similar to those in the House bill. Include full conscience protection and assure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. Until and unless these criteria are met, I urge you to oppose the final bill.

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 12, 2010 11:38 PM ET USA

    The House bill really does lacks effective conscience clauses, has no protection against rationing, it includes "death panels", in-vitro fertilization, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, removes any remaining privacy to ones medical history -- all of which are of concern to Catholics. The House bill is still a bad bill.

  • Posted by: sparch - Jan. 12, 2010 9:58 AM ET USA

    It seem a little late. This should have been out in front fifteen years ago during "Hillarycare". In the name of social justice, the bishop's priorities have been misplaced.

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