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Cardinal, bishops emphasize: Senate health bill extends abortion coverage, could harm immigrants

March 18, 2010

Writing for the online edition of The Washington Post, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop William Murphy, and Bishop John Wester have explained why the United States bishops oppose the health care legislation that was passed by the US Senate in December and will soon be considered by the House of Representatives.

The three-- who chair the bishops’ committees on pro-life activities, justice and human development, and migration respectively-- note that “the Senate bill extends abortion coverage, allows federal funds to pay for elective abortions and denies adequate conscience protection to individuals and institutions.”

“The House bill provides that no one has to pay for other people's abortions, while the Senate bill does not,” they continue. “While the Senate provides for one plan without abortion coverage in each exchange, those who select another plan in an exchange to better meet the special needs of their family will be required to pay a separate monthly fee into a fund exclusively for abortions. This new federal requirement … is a far more direct imposition on the consciences of those who do not wish to pay for the destruction of unborn human life than anything currently in federal law.”

“Those who would expand federal participation in abortion, require people to pay for other people's abortions, and refuse to incorporate essential conscience protections (both within and beyond the abortion context) are threatening genuine reform,” they add. “With conscience protection as with abortion funding, the [bishops’] goal is to preserve the status quo.”

The bishops also argue that the Senate legislation could worsen the health care of immigrants:

The Senate bill would not only continue current law that denies legal immigrants access to Medicaid for five years, but also prohibit undocumented immigrants from buying insurance for their families in the exchanges using their own money. These provisions could leave immigrants and their families worse off, and at the same time it would also hurt the public health of our nation by making hospital emergency rooms the doctors' offices of the uninsured.


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  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2010 8:39 PM ET USA

    Okay, but the bishops and cardinal will be supporting big piece of pure socialism when and if the abortion funding is removed from health care reform. What ever happened to subsidiarity?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 19, 2010 7:55 PM ET USA

    For decades, too many of those in apostolic succession have aligned themselves with the Social gospel (small g intended) while acting like weak sucks at the breast of Moral Theology. They have failed to preach, to see that seminarians were instructed, failed to correct and admonish their brother priests, and abjectly failed to shephard their flocks. They fall over in a dead faint when one suggests they admonish the pro abortion politicians and scatter like leaves before a storm. And we wonder?