Catholic World News

With pro-life amendment, US bishops would push for health-care approval

March 05, 2010

CorrectionThe story below, first posted by CWN on March 5, is incorrect. CWN regrets the error. In the interview with Politico on which our story was based, Richard Doerflinger was speaking about waiving a point of order for the Stupak amendment, not for the entire health-care reform bill. The USCC official did not comment on the legislation as a whole-- only on the pro-life amendment.


The US bishops' conference will push for the approval of sweeping health-care reform legislation if the current Senate bill is amended to include the pro-life language contained in the version passed by the House of Representatives.

President Obama and Congressional leaders of the Democratic Party have indicated that they will push for House approval of the Senate bill. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USSCB) has signaled that the Senate bill is unacceptable because it allows for abortion subsidies and fails to protect the conscience rights of health-care personnel.

However Richard Doerflinger, the assistant director of the USCCB pro-life office, told Politico that the bishops' conference would push for adoption of the Senate bill if it were amended to eliminate those problems, by adoption of the "Stupak amendment" approved in the House or a similar amendment.

In order to achieve President Obama's goal of gaining accelerated passage of the bill, the Senate would be required to apply the "reconciliation" process to an amended bill. Such a parliamentary maneuver would inevitably provoke a challenge, with opponents asserting a point of order, because the reconciliation process is not designed for such substantive debates. Doerflinger told Politico that the USCCB would lobby against the point of order.

“We would strongly urge everyone, Democratic and Republican, to vote to waive the point of order,” said the USCCB spokesman. “Whether it would be enough to get to 60 votes, I can’t predict. We would certainly try.”

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Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Ken - Mar. 06, 2010 6:37 AM ET USA

    Shut up and pray.

  • Posted by: cincinnatus - Mar. 06, 2010 2:12 AM ET USA

    The "reorganization" of the USCCB seems not to have tempered its left-leaning approach to social policy. Nor to have made any less superficial its understanding of the negative effects tht "sweeping healthcare reform" would have on the Church's freedom and on the economic circumstances of its most committed "stewards" and therefore on the mission of the individual diocesan bishops it is supposed to serve

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 05, 2010 10:52 PM ET USA

    The bishops have not made the case Senate bill even if "amended" to include Stupak should have the political support of Catholics. And conscience protection is not on anyones negotiating table. There are many political choices which can obtain lower cost health insurance for the poor. As for Doerflinger, he should repudiate the Politico comments or resign. He brought dishonor on the bishops by giving an absurd double hypothetical and concluding that b's would support Dem's reconciliation

  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 05, 2010 9:08 PM ET USA

    The bishops should leave the secular issues to the laity (e.g., how best to foster health care for all); however, they should insist that the bill not foster moral evil (contraception, abortion, conscience violation, euthanasia, etc.). They seem only concerned about abortion. Write to Doerflinger at the USCCB.

  • Posted by: jrhellmann2750 - Mar. 05, 2010 7:46 PM ET USA

    The Bishops proposal will allow Obama to push for the advancement of the mentality that leads to abortions. By increasingly pushing contraceptives onto our school children we are ensuring that the future generation will be even more Pro-Abortion than our current one as they will inevitably seek abortion as a cure for their failed contraceptives?. Why don't the Bishops insist that Contraceptives are not financed for school children ?

  • Posted by: jrhellmann2750 - Mar. 05, 2010 7:43 PM ET USA

    The Bishops proposal will allow greatly increased funding 4 contraceptives. Many of those contraceptives cause abortions . The language from “conception to natural death” is insufficient because “conception” has been redefined to be after implantation.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 05, 2010 7:09 PM ET USA

    Isn't the business of the Church to save souls? How is this furthered by replacing voluntary charity with government programs funded through the coercive power of taxation? But the USCCB doesn't seem to see this. They only gaze starry-eyed at the prospect of achieving a material good at the stroke of the President's pen, instead of through the hard work of changing hearts.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2010 6:16 PM ET USA

    What happened to subsidiarity? While I subscribe fully to the need for absolute protection of human life in any legislation, and an absolute and permanent guarantee for conscience rights for medical practitioners, the thought of tuning over all health care to the whims of federal politicians scare the wits out of me. To ever support any legislation crafted by liberal politicians that will federalize anything is like looking at hell in the face. I am scared!

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 05, 2010 5:58 PM ET USA

    As my taxes go up, my giving to the Church goes down proportionately. But AmChurch will soon be totally subsidized by the government in exchange for abandonment of Church doctrines, so it doesn't much matter anyway. Come Lord Jesus!

  • Posted by: DCpa - Mar. 05, 2010 5:44 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Mar. 05, 2010 3:40 PM ET USA

    The bishops are simply look at the pro-life issue and they are not considering the principle of subsidiarity and the common good. This is a statist solution which will not solve the problem and hurt the common good. Health care will be rationed, we can't pay for it, and the elderly will be hurt. Businesses will jetison their health plans in favor of the gov't and we wll have the mess of Great Britain, Canada et al.