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. Toni - Phoenix, AZ

    This acts to reaffirm my wisdom in having left the Catholic church. It has lost touch with the teachings of the Lord and with people of conscience. This is one of their more irrational stances, as abortions are relatively cheap and even poor people can afford them. But regular preventative care? Treatment of serious illness or injury – not a chance.

    October 30, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. J. Carroll Marsh

    The solipsistic patriarchy of the Catholic church goes from bad, to worse, to stupefyingly outrageous.

    For God's sake, JUST SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Pat F

    To all you rabid anti-Catholics (who are first in line to support the right of Moslems to impose, on pain of death, 11th century practices):

    I can suggest a group for you to look into joining. It's called the Ku Klux Klan – they hate "popery" too! You'd fit right in!

    October 30, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. sammieb51

    You know the day the public persona of priests became little more than pedifiles, I lost all credibility with them. For them to have a voice about "abortion" is ridiculous until they come up with a voice about PEDIFELIA (SP).

    October 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Jarstfer

    Tax the Church if it is going to be a political and not a religious organization.

    October 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Ellie in Boston

    Has anyone noticed that the Catholic Bishops (and all the rest of the hierarchy) are all men? If bishops could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament, supported by high taxes on women,s hygiene products.

    October 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. g

    start dropping the unwanted born for what ever reason off at your local church not paying taxes they must be loaded with money to take care of them

    October 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Thomas

    That's why I'm no-longer Catholic ,
    I can no-longer believe the Sun rotates around the Earth or using a condom is a sin !

    October 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Olivia

    Typical Republican move....run to the church to help support your views. Church and state are septerate. The GOP has become desperate!!

    October 30, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Nathan Martin

    Seriously, a church has EVERY right to speak for or against issues. This is settled law. As long as they aren't specifically promoting a candidacy from the pulpit, they are alright. If you find it necessary to be liberal...fine. But at least speak according to settled law. Talking about stripping tax status' is rediculous especially since ACORN does far more to support candidates then the Catholic church does and they still keep their status.

    October 30, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Robert Anton Weishaupt

    If the Catholic Church wants to influence legislation, then it better agree to become a taxable organization.

    The United States is not a theocracy, and should not pass legislation on the basis of religious docrtine.

    October 30, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Joe Publicini

    Mauiharper. The nerve of you taking away my rights.

    October 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. A. Smith

    And these people call themselves Priests?

    How very pathetic when it is clearly obvious that children, the elderly and the poor are dieing largely because they have no health insurance whatsoever, nor can they afford any health insurance.

    Rather than promote that blessing upon the living, these so-called, self-titled Priests are ignoring the fact that far more children and homeless individuals lose their lives to diseases that could have been reversed if they had proper medical attention beforehand.

    This is yet another pathetic attempt to mix Republican Agendas with so-called spiritual morality and ethics.

    These Churches should immediately lose their tax exempt Status, and these Priests should be carefully monitored for any hate speech. If they spew out any hate speech which encourages any of their followers to blowup abortion clinics or murder abortion doctors, those Priests must be held accountable for causing those actions.

    A. Smith
    Oregon

    October 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Vivian

    Since when is this really any major church issue....typical Catholic move...and I'm Catholic.!

    October 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    Die quickly folks and we will not need Health Care Reform.

    October 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Mountain Dude

    This is a direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus and a power grab for folks with ideals not far from the Taliban in wanting a theocracy.

    October 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Hammerer

    If the government can not manage the H1N1 vaccine supply how in the world can the manage healthcare?
    Imagine how long you will wait to see a doctor!

    October 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. DJ

    Whatever happened to the founding fathers principle of separation between Church and State?

    October 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. mageen

    This coould cost these religionists more than they ever imagined. It is totally unimpressive that these people would fight tooth and nail over this issue to the detriment and even death of uninsured people with life threatening illnesses, young and old alike. This is not "right to life" or "respect for life" or a "seamless" approach. This is simply a revealed preference for zygotes, an exemplar of something that does not challenge the authority of eccleiastical natalists. And thats what this anti-abortion issue is all about; the control of anyone who does not agree with their policy via any sort of control of the must ultimate part of human privacy.

    October 30, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. TonyS

    I guess it shouldn't be amazing to see all of the anti-Catholic spewing on the Communist News Network site. Abortion is killing of a human being in development. That is a fact, not some religious superstition. If you had been aborted, you wouldn't be alive right now, you'd be dead. Your life would've started inside the uterus of your mother and your life would have been ended by an artificial means invoked by your mother.

    Why is it so hard for you liberals to see the truth, regardless of religion? Some of you even claim to be intellectual. How about getting some common sense with your super high IQ?

    Government should not pay for the killing of innocent humans in the womb, in Iraq, in Afghanistan or anywhere else. If the liberals in the Senate and House who crafted this bill really wanted no govt. funded abortion, they'd put it in the bill. The loophole is still there.

    Thank you Catholic Bishops for standing up for the unborn and elderly. God knows the libs are just looking out for their own.

    October 30, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. cnn=right wing media and works for sarah "death pannel" palin

    The catholic church should worry more about its pedophile priests first. They don't have the credentials to speak about this matter.

    October 30, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Mountain Dude

    This new Catholic Church has become political and needs to lose its tax exempt status. We have separation of church and state and this conflict with our laws and Constitution. Stay out of our government and we will stay out of your church.

    October 30, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. hockeybear

    This is utterly ridiculous. What will it take for the US government to revoke their tax-exempt status for political stances? Oh, I know. A miracle.

    October 30, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Wendy

    I am ready to petition my Congressional representatives to start developing legislation that will start taxing churches – ALL CHURCHES! Churches are no longer involve in teaching about spiritual or religious matters but now are spewing all kinds of political nonsense in these institutions. So, they are no longer churches but social venues under the cover of the church.

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Linda from Minnesota

    I'm a Catholic and as soon as these priests and bishops stop abusing children, people may listen to what they have to say. Until then, butt out of people's personal lives. On second thought, butt out anyway.

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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