There is a great deal of misinformation floating around in the past few days, alleging that the U.S. Bishops have somehow decided to sign off on the health care reform bill, or at least to drop their opposition.
Utterly false. The Bishops are standing firm and insisting that the provisions in the bills that expand federal funding for abortion be stripped, and that adequate conscience protection be ensured. Here is the text of an action alert that came out yesterday from the Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat:
Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform!
Ensure Affordable Health Coverage
Allow Immigrants to Purchase Private Health Insurance
As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.
On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants. On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable. Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers. Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.
ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators today by e-mail, phone or FAX.
To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
MESSAGE – HOUSE:
“I am pleased that the House health care bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. On the other hand, the provisions on abortion funding in the current un-amended Senate health care bill are seriously deficient and unacceptable. I urge you to work to uphold essential provisions against abortion funding, to include full conscience protection and to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”
MESSAGE – SENATE:
“I am deeply disappointed that the current un-amended 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 ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”
WHEN: Votes in the House and Senate are expected at any time.
Act today! Thank You!
Here‘s the link to get a copy of the action alert, so it can be inserted in parish bulletins.
The end game on health care reform is rapidly approaching. The time to act is now.