October 30th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
4 years ago

Priests urged to speak out against health care legislation

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is starting a campaign against abortion funding in national health care legislation.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is starting a campaign against abortion funding in national health care legislation.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Calling Democratic health care bills "seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging priests around the country to speak out against the legislation from the pulpit this Sunday.

The conference - the leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States - is distributing a flier to churches to insert in their weekly newsletters urging parishioners to contact their senators and representatives to ask them "to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments."

"The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them," the flier reads. "Our nation is at a crossroads."

Bishops are also planning to take out advertisements in diocesan newspapers with a similar message. "Americans would be forced to subsidize abortions through their taxes and health insurance premiums," the ad claims.

According to the language in the House health care bill unveiled Thursday, a government-run insurance option could cover abortions, but federal money would not pay for the procedure.

Abortion opponents dispute that and point to the non-partisan FactCheck.org, which wrote in late August that "private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies." Those subsidies, the site wrote, would be available to low and middle-income Americans who sign up for a public insurance option.

Abortion rights opponents in Congress, including Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, have been pushing leaders to add stronger language prohibiting the use of federal money to pay for abortions under new health care reforms.

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Rep. Lois Capps, a Democrat who crafted the abortion funding language in the House bill, stressed that public funding cannot be used to fund abortions. She said qualifying low and middle-income Americans will be able to buy into an insurance exchange where they will have access to at least one plan that does cover abortions services and one that does not.

Capps' office said federal and private funds are kept separately in the exchange: abortion services could be paid for by private funds generated by patient premiums, and no one would receive a federal subsidy directly to do so.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Bev for Canada

    If I am a parishioner in one of those churches I will simply walk out if the priest starts preaching politics. The Catholic church has lost credibility in my eys, when they didn't care for the "living". Allowing priests who sexually abuse little innocent boys who today as adult males are still struggling with emotional diffiuclties as a result of that hideous acitivities they were subjected to. I do not care for the priests's opinion, he is just another individual with a comment. I do care that everyone must have access to decent healthcare so our families and kids can stop dying unnessarily.

    October 30, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Luschnig

    My father who lived in Germany at the time used to tell how Catholic and Evangelical priests would minister to the guards at every one of the death camps and bless their work. He told stories of sermons that railed against the perfidious Jews. Because many bishops and priests enthusiastically joined the SS and the Nazi party and actively promoted their goals. He had clear memories of the Nazi law that outlawed abortion as 'genocide'. Indeed, my father would not have been surprised to hear that a Hitler Jungen is now Pope. The Catholic Church is the last outfit that should preach morality to anyone.

    October 30, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Jay

    Once again the Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with the people. Fine, they oppose abortion and they are fighting against it but this bill is about HEALTH CARE and abortion only encompasses one teenie weenie little piece of it. To oppose this legislation that will save thousands of lives of uninsured children and adults every year because it doesn't also oppose abortion is idiocy at it's best. What is the problem, is it that this bill is saving the wrong lives? Poor people aren't as worthy to have their lives saved?

    Oh, and by the way Catholic Bishops, the latest version of the bill excludes abortions. So basically your just opposing saving the lives of the poor. You make me embarrassed to be a closet Catholic. Time to get rid of the Opus Day cult and bring back more of the Jesuits that you've running off.

    October 30, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Frank

    What happened to the concepts of religion that teach us to care and love each other? Here is the Catholic Church worrying about abortions. Does it worry at all about the living, the poor and the impoverished? I see only one thing they provide in abundance, hypocrisy. For me, health care is a moral issue. How do I justify this stance? By my religious values.

    I find it hypocritical for our country to support numerous wars with unlimited spending and because we want to provide our own citizens health care, we must suddenly care about the cost? The funding of health care affects directly the citizens of our country and that's who I want to help.

    October 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Jon

    In other words, life begins at conception and ends at birth.

    October 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. geecee

    If the Catholic Church divested itself of all its wealth, it could single-handedly wipe out poverty and hunger around the World. Come on Vatican, sell your priceless paintings and artwork and feed the hungry, the millions of children starving all around the world. You want poor people to keep having children, then put your money where your mouth is!! Jesus never wanted or expected the kind of lavish, ostentatious display of wealth that the Catholic Church exhibits, not just in the Vatican, but all over the World with their gothic Cathedrals. And it's about time they get taxed, too!!! Whatever happened to the Vow of Poverty? But the Church made up the Vow of Celibacy in the 12th century so priests couldn't leave any of their acquired wealth to any family they might have, but would have to leave it to the Church so the Church could have more and benefit financially. This celibacy vow had nothing to do with giving up your natural urge to mate as a sacrifice to God. B.S. All it succeeded in doing is giving a pedophile a place to hide–behind a collar.

    October 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. POed Lib

    Time to remove the tax-exempt status of these politician in dresses. If they want to be politicians, why are they tax-exempt?

    October 30, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. empi

    Isn't this pathetic? I wish they would be stripped of their tax exempt status. This coming from the same people who gave us thousands of pediphile priests and covered it up.

    Slime and pond scum

    October 30, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. JDD

    Steps to avoid having to address arguments put forward by the Catholic Church:

    1) Don't read the actual statements.

    2) Define healthcare as a political issue, somehow completely detached from any ethical and moral implications. In the same breath, remind us of Matthew 25, but ignore Psalm 139:13.

    3) Interpret the Constitution as meaning that a Catholic can live in Society as long as they don't shape it. But you can shape it. Based on your ethics.

    4) Talk about some of the failings of Catholics. Ignore yours.

    5) Doubly make sure of #1.

    October 30, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Larry B.

    Seems to me that it's about time the IRS get involved and investigate the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church the same way they investigated a church in Pasadena, Ca. when a minister made an allegedly politically charged sermon. The allegation was proven to be wrong. In the case of the Catholic Church the evidence is overwhelming to substantiate their loss of tax exempt status and has been for years. Why is everyone so afraid of speaking out against them? The Catholic Church is a well connected and well oiled political-financial institution whose watch words are "Be Very Afraid". It's high time they be brought down a number of notches. They have always been more concerned with saving their sorry backsides far more than saving souls and spreading the word of God. If you want a terrific example of that just look at Cardinal Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and his protection of known priest pedophiles. It's really sad.

    October 30, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Wait now, the leadership body of this mellenia old cult, with a long and clear track record of oppression and abuse for reasons of consolidating their power, influence, and wealth, are opposed to helping all the citizens of this country, especially the poor, over one idealogical disagreement?

    What's up Catholic church?

    PS. You were kicked out of government a very long time ago for very good reasons, ie: you abuse any power you are allowed to have. Stay Out Of Government Catholocism!!!

    October 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. jopar

    I really like Michael Moore and what he's trying to do for the country, but how the hell do you support a church like this?Perfectly happy to let 40 million americans die from lack of care lest they inadvertently have an abortion happen.
    And they wonder why thinking catholics are leaving the church.

    October 30, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. white female

    Please go take a seat Sir, you don't have to right to tell a woman what to do with her body.
    What have you spoke out about to men, and your co-workers who cont. to harm young boys and girls.
    Clean your own house before telling others what is right from wrong.

    October 30, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Rob

    If the Catholic church paid taxes, then we would have a surplus.

    October 30, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Hannah

    Churches need to be taxed. They are a business. In America all you have to do is declare that you are a non profit church and you get tax exempt status. And when the Catholic church is speaking out like this, they are breaking the separation of church and state agreement in our constitution.

    October 30, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Dave From Philly

    I guess they missed the part in the bible that talks about free will. Free Will means I have a choice. Or does it mean I have a choice as long as I choose what you want me to choose?

    October 30, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. ronnie

    if any religion wants to politcal from the pulpit make them loose thier exemptions from taxes on all properties that own then they speak for or against and you will see that they will or would become silent on issues health care or whatever

    October 30, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Pat C

    If the Catholic Church was really interested in preventing abortions they would take their heads out of the sand and set up a clinic for free contraceptives. Most teen pregnancies are unexpected and could have been prevented with contraceptives. Too easy and its a sin!!!
    Hey, WAKE UP!!! We are all sinners. Help keep the horse in the barn, not act like a fool after you leave the barn door open. I am a Catholic and I find my religion to be such hypocrites. The pope with all his relics and gold saying mass for the poor and downtrodden. Giving hope to many, I do not think so. Sell the popemobile and donate the money to a soup kitchen......now there is hope. I have found that religion is power for SOME over the masses....after all the pedophiles BEING the Church, I could not stomach it anymore. I look at the Bishops and the Pope and wonder....

    October 30, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. A wised up Democrat who is now an Independant

    I'm all against the health care program but why must someone ask the Priests to talk down on health care. Who besides catholics meaning mostly illegals will listen to them. This same religion are the ones who crucified Christians and would and are still doing so today.

    October 30, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Mark in Atlanta

    As a Catholic, I understand where the priests are coming from. As an American, I wish they would shut the hell up.

    There's a reason we have a seperation of church and government in this country. If we are not prepared to let muslim cab drivers in Detriot refuse to pick up people with alcohol, we should not be prepared to allow health care professionals to refuse legal medical treatments because it conflicts with their faith. We told the cab drivers (appropriately I think) that if they were not willing to pick some people up they needed to find a different job. We should tell health care workers the same thing.

    By the way, like all pro-choice people, I am not pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. We welcomed our youngest child, who has Down Syndrome, into our family not because our church or our government told us we had to. We welcomed him into our family because that's what WE decided to do. That's what pro-choice means. Supporting the notion that women and families should have a say over their own bodies.

    October 30, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Y. Roger

    Why ask a national health care bill try to cover the tracks of a fertile, sexually active female . Control begins with withdrawal of the "offending weapon" – not taxpayer money to correct the "mistake." Or, how about giving up some sensitivity for the sensible covering the ...oh, well, after all, there are so many more humane ways than going for the XXX-mester extraction method.

    October 30, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. B

    Just tell them to read the Bill !

    October 30, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Beverly in NC

    The Catholic Church needs to stay out of politics or lose their non-profit tax benefits. They are nothing but a business who takes from the poor and enriches themselves.

    The new healthcare plan does not provide government money for abortions. It never has and there is nothing in the Bill to change that law.

    Another Republican LIE campaign to do anything to defeat reform and keep the money flowing directly from the insurance industry to their pockets. Republicans are against Americans and only support large corporations who bribe them with large sums of money.

    If they do not represent the People who elected them – then it is time to remove these greedy liars from office at the first possible moment. 2010 will be another landslide defeat for the Party of NO and HATE and LIES.

    October 30, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. susanj

    Yet another reason why I am no longer a Catholic. Liars and hypocrites. and pedophiles to boot!.

    October 30, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. leanderjim

    So, the idiot catholic church would doom millions of living breathing people to agonizing death because they have no health insurance and cannot procure any..............

    October 30, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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