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. We Do Not Want to Move Back to The Dark Age of Conservatism

    What???!!!!! So the Catholic is coming out AGAINST the 45,000 people who die every year because they don't have health insurance??!!!! If the Catholic Church is going to meddle in the politics of this country it should lose it's tax exempt status! This is one of the most disgusting things the Catholic Church as done and there is a long, long list to choose from!

    October 30, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Randi

    The Catholics have a moral responsibility to speak out against issues which they feel threaten their beliefs. Call your Congressmen and tell them not to change the language if you feel strongly about it. We all act on our political beliefs everyday and I'm not sure why we have to become crazy angry when the Catholic Church does the same thing. It's no different than moveon.org or the NRA crying out against legislation. Whether or not we agree with the opposition does not silence them – come on.

    October 30, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. madeleine

    Well the same Catholic Church who was collaborating with Nazis, doesn't recognize kids fathered by priest all around the world, has a kind of "black out with priest practicing incest, sexual intercourse with minors and abusing they power with uneducated people..ie in Africa). When the church will start taking car of all those businesses we will be able to give you the right to talk about women rights.

    October 30, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Colleen

    What ever happened to seperation of church and state?

    October 30, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Allen from Texas

    Priests better not say a word, once a non-prof takes a political side it loses its non-prof benefits....

    October 30, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. haren

    what can you expect from this religious republican branch when they have three moron running for presidency not believing in evolution.
    I think Health care industry is donating money to this catholic churches.

    October 30, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. michaelam

    Just one more reason why this "Catholic" will never come home!

    Can we get some referendum going to revoke ALL religion's tax-exempt status???? Please!

    I think I will email my congresswoman's office right now. I suggest everyone contact their representatives and DEMAND that all religions lose their tax-exempt status. Time to change the tax codes.....perhaps, this may help fund healthcare reform!

    October 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. LatinosConservativeParty

    SHAME on all of you MORONS very quick to blame the Catholic just accept the AMERICAN People don't want the public options. The only ones is the MORONS Liberals that keeps sticking they nose on everything. The Conservative want their country back!!!! so liberals UP YOURS!!!!!!! and get out of the greatest country in the world the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Stop destroying the American value and take your liberals view to RUSSIAN, AND CHINA!!! GET OUT OF THE USA.

    October 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Dave

    Ha, what was this article linked to the Huffington Post or something? What's with all the liberal haters? Barack Obama has repeatedly said the same thing as the Catholic Church, no federal funding for abortions in the health care bill. This whole issue is because neither the House nor the Senate leadership will allow an amendment explicitly barring abortions to be brought and voted on by members of Congress. The extreme left is attempting to gag over 65% of Americans who don't want abortion funding in the bill . Now that's democratic.

    October 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Jim

    "Those subsidies, the site wrote, would be available to low and middle-income Americans who sign up for a public insurance option."

    The way I read this statement is that they are against subsidies for low and middle income Americans. Put the whole abortion nonsense aside, they are against subisdizing the poor.

    I suriously do not think Jesus would approve of that.

    October 30, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The Government needs to reverse all churches "anti-trust exemption" just like the insurance industry, they are no different than lobbyist.

    October 30, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Brian

    ok. just to clear up some things since there is so much twisting of the facts. It is not illegal or against the constitution for the church or church leaders to speak out about their beliefs on this or any issue. Also, Separation of Church and State as spelled out in the Constitution doesn't prevent them from speaking out on this (it is more a prohibition on the state supporting a religion, not a relgion supporting the state). The only thing really at risk is the churches tax exempt status, but were the current administration or congress to even hint at this there would be a major outcry among the populace (surprising how silent they were when bush was promoting christian religion as the solution). So basically the church is just a bunch of hypocrites, but no surprise there..

    October 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. yougottobekidding

    If they do this, then they should lose their exempt tax status! This is one confused and corrupted institution. I hope they send out the same flyers warning children to stay away from some their perverted priests!

    October 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Dale Albrecht

    Holding back healthcare for millions of people because of a handful of phantom abortions? Sure doesn't sound like the actions of a "compassionate" religion to me.

    October 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Kelly

    What a bunch of misguided pedophiles, not sure which is worst, the lying Republicans or the Catholic Church, both have proven to be liars of the worst kind. If they want to stick their nose in politics, they should be taxed or shut up.

    October 30, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. FancySmiley from Conyers, GA

    I'm so sick of these anti-abortionists. People are having babies they can't afford, killing the children they never wanted. Granted, they should've used protection but NOTHING is 100%. When these folks are asking for a handout, on welfare or robbing killing and stealing to feed the kids the didn't want in the first place, these are the same folks who"ll say they shouldn't have had kids if they knew they couldn't afford it. Let them have their abortions! The ultimate and most important judgement is between them and their G-d.

    October 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. RB - CA

    The Catholic church should lose its tax-exempt status if it interferes with this POLITICAL process. This is yet more proof that the Bishops and Pope are so lost in their vain-glorious, self-absorbed sense of importance, that they haven't got a clue what Jesus really taught, nor have they a clue as to the meaning of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. I find it so odd that they claim to be the spritual leaders of our collective moral conscience, but they would rather let millions of LIVING human beings suffer without the necessities of health care, than support a bill that doesn't address their self-serving definition of life. I think their time might be better spent, keeping their priests away from little boys. As Jesus once said of the spiritual leaders of his time, "You are a brood of vipors and hippocrits!." It applies today every bit as much as it applied to the religious leaders of 2000 years ago. Some things never change.

    October 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Brian

    Jesus wept.

    October 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Cleo

    If the Catholic church is now promoting political views then the government should make them start paying taxes. There is still separation between church and state. TAX THEM!

    October 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Marcin

    The belief that a fetus or a zygote is a person is a religious belief.

    Yeah, science on the other hand, clearly shows the a fetus or a zygote is a chicken.

    October 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. McFly

    Most health plans also pay for contraception – both the permanent and the "one-time" use variety. BOTH/ALL forms of contraception are banned in the Catholic Church ... where is the moral outrage to that? Oh, it’s not as sexy as the Abortion BS ... I get it...

    October 30, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Reformed Republican

    SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE – Obviosuly the Catholic overloards in America aren't familiar with the way we do things here in the US of A. Perhaps we should take away their tax exempt status to make the point.

    122 more Americans died yesterday and will again today, tomorrow and every day after because they could not afford health care. And what do these Catholic hypocrites bleat out – Stop health care reform with a strong public option because they think it pays for abortions.

    A word of advise to the self rightous hyporites that run the Catholic mafia here in the US – Wash the blood from your hands for supporting the Holocust and pedophilia before you go around trying to take away a woman's freedom of choice about how to use her body and condemning Americans that can't afford health care to their deaths.

    And one more thing Catholic clergy – We don't take orders on how to run our government from mullahs, rabbis or evanglicals either. Deal with it ...

    October 30, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Hypocritical Libs

    Those that use the 'separation of church and state' argument to try to silence a religious group's right to speak out against legislation doesn't understand what is meant by 'separation...'. First of all, the phrase isn't in the Constitution, and second, the founders meant that there will be NO STATE SPONSORED RELIGION (which there isn't).

    All groups, including Catholics, have the right to oppose legislation that they don't agree with. (I'm not Catholic).

    Note: We can have reform without the unsustainable Obama/Pelosi takeover of heathcare. We all (conservatives and dems) want good affordable healthcare.

    October 30, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Dennis

    I believe if they want to get involved in politics, there tax the bastards. Will solve the deficit problem.

    October 30, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Eric in St. Paul, MN

    Times like this make me ashamed to be a Catholic. The Bishops seem to want to misinform to promote their own agenda rather than follow the teachings of Jesus to take care of the less fortunate. [deep sigh]...

    October 30, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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