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. Punctus

    To be fair, the Bishops Conference supports
    health care reform. They are simply opposed to
    reform that involves public spending for abortion.

    Their position on healthcare includes:
    – a truly universal health policy with respect for human
    life and dignity
    – access for all with a special concern for the poor and
    inclusion of immigrants
    – pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism
    including freedom of conscience and variety of options
    – restraining costs and applying them equitably across
    the spectrum of payers

    October 30, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Why should a powerful hyperwealthy church whose leader wears jewels-encrusted hats and robes (a far cry from Christ indeed!) be exempt from paying taxes?! Guess they missed the part about "render unto Caesar what is due Caesar" while counting all those billions!

    October 30, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. JP

    Whether or life begins in the womb is certainly a topic for debate.

    When human misery begins is not.

    Opposing a general initiative to provide health care for most citizens is certainly a point at which human misery and suffering will begin or grow worse. And this from a church that has worked tirelessly and courageously for generations to relieve human suffering.

    God indeed works in strange ways.

    October 30, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Fenarkleman

    Further proof that God does not want regular people to be healthy. Just rich people. Hey, they must be doing something the rest of us are not, or they would not be rich, right? Just like Rupert Murdoch. Thanks, priests for showing us the way.

    October 30, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Speaking for Liberals

    I know and understand that it is difficult to accept THE FACT that life is nothing more than the result of a chemical reaction.
    i know you want to believe that there is more to it, but it's not

    October 30, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Jakey T:)

    I think it's a good thing that religion is taking a step in this. If we can't rely on our religious leaders, no matter the denomination, to help guide us in our political decisions as well as our spiritual ones, then who can we look too? I mean, obviously there's family and friends to take some serious consideration from, but their opinions may not be what God wants us to do. So heck, I support the Catholic church and their willingness and bravery to take a stand in this, and I just hope that other churches will too.

    October 30, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Republicans won't be happy with the world unless the world completely, and unequivically capitulates to their every demand.

    Republicans will seek out any means of spreading their disinformation, be it church, "tea party", and radio and television program.

    Republicans won't stop until they've convinced the world they're the true saviors of our society, economy, and policy.

    If you disagree and are not a part of their idealogy you are debased and malinged.

    Sounds like National Socialism with a a dash of Christian fundimentialism to me. Republicans think America is up for grabs.

    October 30, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Judi

    The 'church' does not speak for US citizens and should not be involved in politics! It should not be pushing for legalization of illegal immigrants either.

    It should be focused more on addressing its own internal moral issues that are far greater than letting a woman seek an abortion or having a blatant disregard to US law!

    October 30, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. haas

    When the Catholic Church starts paying for their sex crimes against children they can talk about healthcare.

    October 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    Catholic Church on the wrong side once more.
    Organized religion working against humanity, what could be worse? Christ would be (is) ashamed ...... again.
    Thank God ALL religious beliefs and faiths have nothing to do with our government.

    October 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Barbara Independent in NY

    I firmly believe in the "Separation of Church and State" and don't care what the Catholic Church has to say about anything involving government. I do have a question for the Catholic Church–When are you going to clean your own house? If the religions in this country are going to continue to interfer with the government, I am going to demand that my representatives introduce legislation to start taxing the churches, synagogues, temples, etc.

    October 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. republican idiot

    its always about abortion where is the church with the unwanted kids that
    are out there on the streets why don't they solve that problem, oh thats right lets leave that issue with the tax payers who are paying for social workers and the jails that these kids wined up in I don't see them living in a catholic house PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH if you don't want abortion then take care of the unwanted kids that are out there first by giving every child a loving home

    October 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Steve

    Yes, speak out against this legislation and get the flock to pressure their representatives because it goes against the religious belief. However, when it comes to tax-exemption status, then it's "oh, we gotta have that – separation of church and state". Typical religious zealots, pick and choose, pick and choose.

    October 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. KLS

    If a woman does not want an abortion then she won't have one!!
    The Catholic Church transferred the pedophile priests for years so they could attack innocent children. The Catholic Church offers sanctuary to illegal people living in our country. Not exactly what I would call “holier than thou” in their beliefs. Our nation was founded on the sound principal of separation of church and state.

    October 30, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. enough already

    I see. When someone mentions abortion, the libs want to tell them not to impose their morality upon them.

    But when it comes to their causes, it's a moral imperative.

    Hypocrisy runs both ways.

    October 30, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Bob

    As an ex-Catholic, lets all pray for the Church to die a quick death. We could feed the world if we sold the Vatican.

    October 30, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Sam Sixpack

    The great Health-care "reform" scam of 2009. They just can't wait to get their hands on all the Medicare cash.

    Obamacare: pulling the plug – one grandma at a time.

    October 30, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Tina in Tempe

    Oh Pleez! The Catholic Church no longer is a viable institution. It has grown politicized, therefore, should not be eligible for tax exemption status. How dare they make judgments based on "Gods Law", yet have harbored pedophiles for centuries and have approved,through remaining quiet, genocide and pedophilia. How on God's good earth can they remain silent during the most atrocious times in history and then suddenly become a voice to others. They are one of the wealthiest institutions in the world, through our tax dollars and fear-mongering. Although my name is posted in the Vatican, I shall never fall prey to these wolf's in sheeps clothing. How can the Catholic Church voice an opinion when they are responsible for some of the most evil, deadliest times in history. May God save our Earth. Tina in Tempe

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

    Sounds like political speech from the molester haven.

    Tax them.

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

    So yet again the catholic faith is cutting off its nose to spite its face? Instead of saving thousands upon thousands of people a year and taking a step towards bettering the lives of millions we once again take the stance of "once you're born we don't care about you anymore".

    October 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Jimbo

    Why doesn't the Catholic church stick to doing things it does well" like molesting children? Maybe that is why they oppose abortion – fewer kids to practice their pedophile ways on.

    October 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. ivote

    The Catholic Church has no business in this issue. When I attend services it's not to be told what to vote for. My vote is secret.

    October 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Dan

    One question...

    If stronger language is put in the legislation to oppose abortion, will these same Bishops take out ads in support of the bill?

    Jesus taught us that we were supposed to help the sick. Not build great monuments as that was a sign it's leaders worshiped false gods.

    October 30, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Jason

    As a Catholic, I am continually ashamed of the church leadership and it's anti-humanitarian, sexist and pathologically reactionary politics. Personally I'd prefer if the church stayed out of politics, but when it does choose to jump in it really ought to be on the side of morality. Against universal health care is their moral judgement? Really? Really?

    October 30, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Buckhorn

    Maybe the Catholic Church should start to look at the issue of Celibacy!
    Let Priests marry and increase the number of parisheners. Stop Priests from on line Porno collecting – like recently in Canada. This might be a more important health issue for the Catholic Bishops to tackle.

    October 30, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12