U.S. Knights Urged to Keep Pressure on Congress
The health care debate has now reached its final and most critical stage, with final votes now expected by March 21.
The exact means by which it will be brought up for a vote is uncertain, but Congressional leaders intend to push the bill through Congress over the objections of a bipartisan group of lawmakers that want to include a firm ban on abortion funding in the bill.
Congressional leaders intend to use the Senate version of the bill as the vehicle, and that version of the legislation violates the long-standing policy against the federal funding of abortion and is an unacceptable departure from current law.
If the Senate bill is adopted by the House (or if it is “deemed” to be passed in a parliamentary maneuver), it would go immediately to the President’s desk for signature and will be enacted into law.
The Senate bill contains multiple pro-abortion provisions and federal subsidies for abortion. It allows for federal dollars to flow to abortion providers in community health centers; it allows for subsidies for overall health plans that cover abortion. Lastly, it provides no conscience protection for those who refuse to participate in abortion.
The American Catholic bishops oppose the Senate bill, saying that under its provisions “federal funds will help subsidize, and in some cases a federal agency will facilitate and promote, health plans that cover elective abortions.” Links to all of the relevant U.S. Bishops Conference documents (as of March 18, 2010) can be found here.
You may also wish to read a statement by Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, and a column by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput.
What do American Catholic nuns think? Read this. The USCCB Pro-Life Office has issued an important clarification on a statement issued by another group of Catholic nuns.
A spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has said that the Senate bill is the single most pro-abortion piece of legislation to reach the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade. Read the NRLC statement.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including brother Knight Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) is working to ensure that the health care legislation contains language banning abortion funding.
They need the support of Knights across the United States in their efforts. Genuine health care reform must protect the life and dignity of the unborn.
Knights and their families are strongly urged to contact their representative in the U.S. House to ask them to oppose the Senate bill unless and until it contains language banning abortion funding and ensuring conscience protection.
Go to NCHLA website to contact your representative.