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Doerflinger profiled as ‘powerful Catholic’ shaping health care debate

March 11, 2010

In an article republished by NPR and other media outlets, Kaiser Health News has profiled Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “We have a simple position” on health care reform, says Doerflinger. “Everybody gets covered. Nobody gets deliberately killed.”

“A wrenching family tragedy helped propel Doerflinger toward his life’s work,” the article noted.

When he was a teenager growing up on Long Island, his older brother, Eugene, was injured in a car accident and lapsed into a "vegetative state,” Doerflinger says. One physician advised his mother to put Eugene in an institution and “forget you ever had a son,” he says. Instead, she took Eugene home. Four months later, he woke up. Eugene lived near his family, although with severe mental and physical disabilities, until his death in 2008. “The experience of how a family can come together and care for a loved one who had a life that other people think is over affected my attitudes,” Doerflinger says.


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