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. Diana

    I'm a cattholic but amthinking of changing to non denomination beacause of these lunitics who think it's alright to condem innocent people to death over something that doesn"t exist. What would Jesus do?

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Lori in St Pete

    Between this comment, and priests telling their flocks who to vote for during the 2004 election, the catholic church should lose its tax-exempt status – 5 years ago!

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. JonDie

    You are *always* count on the bishops of the Catholic Church to fight against justice and to help the privileged at the expensse of the poor and downtrodden.

    And churches really should be taxed because they are just one more group of lobbyists protecting their turf.

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Life is Beautiful

    If we can't protect the unborn than who will? Abortion is not health care unless the mother's life is in danger. If you can give a valid explanation to an unborn whose life you terminated when you leave this earth than you had every right to perform the abortion.

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. pby

    I am a Catholic , I am a woman , I am a mother and I believe I am a good person . I am once again appalled , angry and embarressed by the Catholic Church especially in the USA . I want my children and grandchild to have a sene of spirituality as Catholics in the true sense of the world as peacmakers , as caring for the poor and disenfranchised , the week the poor regardles of religion , color credd and life style as we are all children of God !

    Seperation of state and religion is an essential element of democracy and can not be used to suite a situation such as when JFKennedy was elected President . One can not have it both ways .

    Individual rights and responsilities are also an inherent element . Free will is a belief and allows choice , therefore forgiveness personal between God and self .

    Yes where was the Church in terms of the past 8 years of war , torture , lies , genicide etcv etc etc not to mention WW 2 /Bosnia .

    My goodness , who and what is the rc Church ! Please stop the political interference and hidden adgenda ... this is your President , your elected government trying to introduce the USA to the principles of the right to health care !

    October 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Connie, Indiana

    Here we go again. If these churches are "tax exempt" maybe the IRS needs to check into them. If they are a front for the republican party, then strip them of their "tax exempt". Why is this the main topic anyways? Seems like it always comes to the forfront during elections. Maybe they should take some of their energies and start with the idea of promoting safe sex etc., nope they got their noses in it after the fact. And if abortion is such a big issue for them, then get all the members of ALL the churches in the US to start a fund to take care of these babies after they are BORN, or is their concern only when the child is in the womb, and then they are forgotten!!!! Let see if these same churches are willing to do that, then you will see who the true christians are.

    October 30, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Phil

    I urge all people on conscience to withhold thier weekly contribution to the Catholic Church anytime you disagree with what they are saying from the pulpit. The only thing the church leadership understands is money! Until we hit them in the pocketbook there will be no change at the Vatican.

    It is ultra-right wing blathering like this that has lead our family to stop going to mass. Minister to the people for God Sake- not to Fox News! The people DO include the poor without the health insurance priests and bishops get, in case you have forgotten your Gospel!

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Brian from NJ

    "Shut up, sit down or go away...we don't need you in this nation anymore."

    What an arrogant, Obama-esque, statement...

    Who are the "we" in this statement? Are only the people who agree with you allowed to be in "your" nation? If the rest of us just shut up and sit down can we stay here?

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Tina

    This is what irritates me about the republican party, their stance on moral and personal issues. If it wasn't for that I would be a republican rather than a democrat because I agree with the republicans on fiscal policy.

    These churches should be stripped of their tax exempt status.

    If they are going to ignore separation of church and state, they shouldn't be tax exempt.

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. too bad the republiklans lack ideas

    this guys need to fix their bishops and priest who are sleeping with boys and innocent children; while calling the name "holy father!"

    the catholic church audacity of hipocrisy!!!

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    The Catholic Church needs to just shut up! Everything is George Bush's fault! After what Bush did, Americans deserve to suffer. You all need to shut up, trust President Obama and do whatever he wants.

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. JonDie

    Republicans are the American Taliban wrote:

    "So the Catholic Church can be added to the list with Republicans and Mormons as organizations who want American to die for lack of healthcare...it's the Christian way..."

    There really is LITTLE difference between Catholics, Mormons, Republicans and the Taliban...except who each group believes should be beaten up and killed for the greater good.

    October 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Che for Me

    Religion is an opiate of the Masses. If Obama and the dems had any stones, they'd REVOKE their tax exempt status, and KICK THE PRIESTS TO THE CURB.

    No progressive should be religious, and certainly not a catholic.

    October 30, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Doc SteveO

    After years of thoughtful reflection, I somewhat uncomfortably came to the conclusion that ALL religions (even atheism) are utter and hopeless nonsense. And this is just another example from my former faith.

    If there were any true value to religion, there would be some kind of "proof in the pudding", so to speak. But no – religion is mainly a handy cover for fratricide; think of "ethnic cleansing", for example. Organized religion is responsible for more deaths than any other phenomenon throughout all of history. The more pious, the more killing.

    Are there people who live good, faith-motivated lives? Of course. Are they the rule? Certainly not! But why not? Because they really don't buy it except for the occasional hour or so each sabbath.

    One would have to wonder how any faithful Christian manages to stay alive. After all, with the promise of all that heaven is supposed to offer, who could reasonably be expected to wait to get there? Could it be that they really don't believe it when it comes right down to the short hairs?

    And finally, there is great truth in the old saying that nothing creates an atheist faster than a close read of the ENTIRE Bible. It is great sport to watch the "faithful" gyrate in and out of the hot seat while trying to accept this part of the Bible over another part which obviously and entirely contradicts the first. It has been stated by objective historical biblical scholars who KNOW that there are almost certainly more errors in the Bible than there are WORDS!

    Good luck with faith.

    October 30, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. simp

    Hypricrites. Isn't this the same bunch of perverts that have been molesting boys over the last 75 years? The catholics think that just because they start shooting off their hyprcritcal mouths all religions should listen to me, this is the last denomination I would give a second glance to, they are a bunch of clowns.

    October 30, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. em

    What?!? Private insurance covers abortion. If the federal government wants to provide subsidies to poor people so they can buy private insurance, the church is against that? How can this be? Does the church think it's okay to buy that same insurance if you can afford it without help? I can't believe the Catholic Church has stooped so low to be against helping poor people get healthcare. This is truly sad.

    October 30, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Liam

    I'm Catholic, and I guess I'm the only one here who doesn't like killing babies, however young. You're right, we do care for the living first. Babies in the fetal stage are alive. If they're not, how do they grow? If they're not, did each and every one of us magically become alive when we exited our mother's bodies? It's not that we don't want 40 million people to have insurance. We just don't want having abortions to become a procedure like a nose job, as in no big deal, it's funded too so why not? Lastly, the same church that wouldn't speak out about the Holocaust? Yeah because all the people who were alive and railing 70 years ago are still kicking and hate Jews a ton. That's like saying you're bad because you're great-great-grandpappy did something bad. Grow up.

    October 30, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Tom

    Those of us who do not believe in big government and big taxes need to find a way to divorce this belief in how government should be run from the belief in God.
    They don't belong together–not anymore than it belongs with Democrats.
    Religious beliefs are not negotiable political points.
    It is true that Republicans are in danger of becoming viewed as "religious extremists" and I, personally, don't want those wack jobs in the same political party I'm in any more than I'd want an Islamic Radical.
    The Church certainly can have an opinion but it is wrong that it ever falls on any political side.
    For example, if you believe abortion is wrong FINE/GREAT EVEN! but you don't get to tell people what to do with their own body even if you think it's wrong–seriously, how full of yourself are you if you think you can? Even God gave mankind free choice–everyone is allowed to make their own good and bad choices by God so why is this even an argument? One side who believes in God should believe that God will take care of/judge/punish (if that's what you believe) people who do things like this and the other side–people who don't believe in God, don't believe in God.

    The fact that the Church is corrupt and a bunch of pedophiles might make you a little leery about listening to it's political advice too.

    I believe the founding fathers got this right and we need to rediscover the truths we hold to be self-evident and put the common good before the personal good.
    Separate Church and State.
    Speak Freely, but speak the truth.
    Be tolerant of others. If you disagree about something with someone, let them make their own mistakes and find their own successes.
    Live your own life.

    October 30, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. marcus (seattle)

    it's a shame the federal government doesn't have the stones to take away the tax-exempt status of these groups. not that i think they should have had tax exempt status in the first place. but, i am tired of these churches being used as political advertising for right-wing causes. as if jesus would NOT want people to have health insurance ? well, the church has been corrupt since day 1. why stop now ?

    October 30, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Ryan, Denver

    The Catholic Church will garner my respect the day they awknowledge that a condom is a good thing.

    October 30, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. UnhappyCamper

    Things the catholic church approves of; pediphilia in their priests, unwanted pregnancies which lead to child abuse, over- crowding, starvation, and taxing the social services system to the extreme. Now death by lack of health care can be added to this list. How CHRISTIAN of the catholic church.

    Seperation of church and state where art thou?????

    October 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. chthonic

    As to which Catholic church this one is, it's the one that spent about at least fifty years protecting pedophile Catholic priests.

    October 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. Cincinnatian

    Closeted, irrelevent, power obsessed noise-makers – those bishops, pandering to a small but vocal, conservate minority. Many of these guys entered seminary at age 12 because they couldn't fit in with their peers. Now they still have trouble functioning in social settings. So they found a niche with the right-wing catholics who kiss their rings and treat them like kings. I suppose it explains why they put so much of their energy into advancing the agenda of those who kiss up and pad their pockets.

    Hey bishop – try removing the log in your eye before taking the splinter out of mine.

    October 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. payback

    ... if they are willing to support all, these ( fetuses) , soon to become children, soon to become adults, with their tax exempt money. Then, they could speak on the subject of ,health care. or any issue concerning birth control.,

    October 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    That "Americans would be forced to subsidize abortions through their taxes and health insurance premiums" is only a tiny part of the problem with this idiocy–the real problem is that working Americans would be forced to subsidise the medical expenses of people too irresponsible, improvident, or indolent to pay their own bills. That's just plain unfair to those of us who actually work for a living, and actually, however reluctantly, pay taxes.

    October 30, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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