October 30th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
5 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. ww

    Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? It is only convenient when the sitting President is republican.

    October 30, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Yeah Right

    And let the Dumb-o-CRAPS start bashing the Catholics in...3...2...1

    October 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. S M R

    So in other words, the Priests are taking bribes?

    October 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. thunderlizard

    The law of the land? The catholic church thinks it's above the law...just check out how they've tried to protect their child-molesting priests from criminal prosecution under the law.
    If the church is going to be a mouthpiece for the republican party, then treat them like a political party.

    October 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Kathy

    So let me get this straight...they are against abortions so the priest have more alter boys to molest. AH!!! Now it is perfectly clear!!!

    October 30, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. I'll make 'em famous

    Too bad the the Catholic Church is far from being a leading exemple...

    Wasn'it only 14 months ago when their pope came over to the U.S to speak against priests who sexually abused children ???

    October 30, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Expat in Canada

    Oh man, what happened to the separation of church and state? Oh well, I guess I get it, because if there was thing Jesus was against it was helping the sick.

    October 30, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Bob R. Lanham, Maryland

    Yes, let's tax the hell out of those churches! i was raised Roman Catholic and I was so Confirmed when I was an ignorant child. I am 70 now and I learned there is or was child molestation hell in too many churches. I say the state (government) should TAX THE HELL out of all churches.

    October 30, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Jatovi

    What ever happened to separation of church and state?

    October 30, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. SLP

    Randolph Carter, I will say a prayer for you tonight. You are obvioiusly a very misguided, bitter man. As for the rest of you, what you don't understand is that this healthcare bill will be funded by taxpayers dollars. That means abortions that are covered under the plan will be funded by taxpayers dollars. That doesn't sit well with taxpayers who are opposed to abortion.

    October 30, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. mario mtl ca

    Take care of your pedophile and not politic

    October 30, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. MikeTo

    I am Catholic and I believe that the Church needs to stop interfering with the state. Healthcare reform is needed badly by Americans now.

    October 30, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. S M R

    The Republicans are holding on by a thin thread, They will try anything.

    October 30, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Leslie

    Look at the history of the church, WAR is their main "claim to fame", it does not care for YOU! No surprise they object to helping the people. Again, it's the Christian way!

    October 30, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Leslie

    Look at the history of the church, WAR is their main "claim to fame", it does not care for YOU!
    No surprise they object to helping the people.

    October 30, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Their views on this would seem far less hypocritical if they voiced equal opposition to America's wars of choice and unconditional support of Israel.

    October 30, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Leslie

    Look at the history of the church, WAR is their main "claim to fame", it does not care for YOU!

    October 30, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Mark

    Here we go: all the comments from LIBS that think that Christians are hypocrites because they dont support the reform that Liberals are offering. Of course, their reform is apparently the ONLY reform possible. It couldnt possibly be that people are against certain parts of the reform bill but are still in favor of universal coverage, etc.

    So sick of the Left.

    October 30, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Z

    Please note that this is NOT the view of the Catholic Church. This is the view of a few Right-Wing nuts who just happen to be Bishops. These are the same morons who condemned Pres. Obama giving the speech at Notre Dame when the Vatican WELCOMED him and expressed joy that he would be delivering the commensement speech.

    If you research this, you will find that the Pope and the Vatican itself in general is in approval of the health care bill. These guys are an embarrasment to the rest of us Catholics and should not be taken seriously.

    October 30, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Suzan

    I am a catholic, I refuse to listen to the Priests an or Bishops telling woman what they can do or can't do with their bodies........The Catholic Church is no better than the far right wing religious nut that support Palin.....they have for to long tried to mix church and state and now the Catholics are going to try to tell the federal government what we can and can not have in our Health Care Bill (as long as it is saving lives I would think that should be suffient)........the Priests need to tend to matters at hand that for to long have been an embarrassment to the Catholics around the world and that is keeping your pants zipped up and leave our atler boys and boys in the catholic church and schools alone........or do you think we have forgotten about that..........I think that is as much a sin as you think ABORTION is a sin

    October 30, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. DJ in TX

    What happened to the separation of Church and State? Nothing wrong with what they are saying, just where. I would think not every single person sitting in the pews are 100% pro-life.

    They should be saying these things outside of the church setting. They are asking priests to talk politics from their pulpits. That just doesn't seem right.

    October 30, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. A.B.

    I think that the Pope and the Catholic Church should just stay out of the issue of healthcare reform and not interfere in civil/secular affairs. The church adds nothing of any significance to the debate and its opinions are irrelevant. The church does not decide social and healthcare policy in this country. The American people do!!

    October 30, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Juan

    What's the matter mods, you afraid to post comments on your top story, you afraid your servers would blow up?

    October 30, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Tiff of Lithia Springs

    Um I think they need to close their mouth or pay taxes. Sounds like England in the 1500's. What ignorance.

    October 30, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. M.R. in L.A.

    stop meddling stupid cult!

    October 30, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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