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. Sharon

    I am a Catholic and I just wish they would have had the initiative to speak out about the child molestation by priest or the death penalty. I mean really! And to get into the health care debate is a little ridiculous. Why don't they march against the big insurance companies who provide abortions?? At least some health care is better than nothing. The bishops should be out there helping people who are dying in the streets of America without health care. What about that??? They should remember that the Pope himself has government healtcare in Italy!!

    October 30, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Sad

    This is why I can no longer consider myself a Catholic. They find every excuse possible to NOT defend the poorest among us. Abortion is a word they throw out when something doesn't suit them politically. You say you care so much about the unborn, but what about the living who are struggling and sometimes dying in American streets because society considers these HUMAN BEINGS worthless and underserving of help and empathy?

    American Catholics, some of them are dispicable human beings masquerading as "Godly good folk". Sad.

    October 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Tina

    I am a conservative baptist and I therefore commend the Catholic church for standing for what is right.

    October 30, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. johanB

    What is it with Catholics and more importantly these so-called Catholic leaders. Are they just making themselves completely irrelevant and do they really believe in their medieval arrogance that they can dictate what their 'flock' should do? They clearly have no shame as they can be bought just like every Republican by the Health Care industry and for that matter the Banking Industry. Catholics are becoming more corruptable by the day. I always believed that Catholics wanted to help the poor and make sure that they have some kind of affordable health insurance. But NO out heroic Catholic Bishops have decided to just screw the poor, like they have been doing for a very long time and long live the rich donors to the Catholic coffers which must be empty by now after having to pay off thousands of sex scandals.
    All the poor should leave this church 'en masse' and find their spiritual needs somewhere else where they are more welcome.

    October 30, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. FH

    Why should their "moral" values be better than mine or anyone else's. This is why the United States Constitution establishes the country as a democracy and not a theocracy. Just because I believe that it is immoral to eat an apple doesn't mean I should dictate it to you or anyone else. The great thing about morals they allow you to decide how to live YOUR life.

    October 30, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. Margie Miller

    Randolph Carter, you are sick.

    October 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. ICARE

    Yes, we need to focus on prevention and adoption, not ABORTION. Like I have said before, God created Adam on the 6th day. Three weeks (18 days to be exact) from conception, that thing has a heartbeat. The baby is alive and deserves life.

    I have seen pictures of abortion and it's pretty sick. And like I have said before, in the hospital, we are measured by heartbeats, not by limbs, legs and eyeballs.

    If it has a heartbeat, let it live. If you dont want it, put it up for adoption.

    October 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. HEY SAINTS!!!!

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is starting a campaign against abortion funding in national health care legislation.
    ***How about all the young Boys that were*** Molested You care more about unborn fetuses than living people*** Do you disagree with the Tax exemption****Hypocrites!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. ted

    I think Obama should give everybody health care, a new house, a new car, and whatever else we need. Who cares if it bankrupts the country.

    October 30, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Useyourbrain!!

    The Catholic church does not pay my insurance premium, therefore, they have no business telling me what my insurance can or cannot cover. My next correspondence will be to my elected representatives asking them to introduce a bill in congress to do away with church exempt status. Why don't all of you who agree..do the same.

    October 30, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. ICARE

    True story: In South America, a nurse performed abortions for her clients. One of her clients died and she was jailed. God met her in jail and she became a believer and never performed abortions again.

    The problem with abortion is that thing has a heartbeat. It has life and has been given life and Soul by the Creator. If you get rid of it, you are a killer.

    October 30, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Why don't we subsidize the cost of Health Care by finally taxing the Catholic Church? Talk about greed. The Catholic Church has gone from a religious organization to a business.

    October 30, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    As a lukewarm Democratic Catholic in the Deep South, I was just getting over being told that I was going to hell for voting against George W. Bush twice, and now THIS. I hope they all feel smug & holy now.

    October 30, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. independent

    When surfing, it is easier to sit on the board, than actual stand and surf the wave. Life and society is a wave. The Catholic Church is trying to sit on the board. Christ surfed.

    October 30, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. JOY

    Come on Priests, politics is out of your domain. You should all be defrocked , or be sent back to the SEMINARY. What you are doing is not Biblical , go pray for your sins and the sins of the pedophile priests who have left the Church in shambles. Shame on you all to be ready to rant and rage on your pulpits to dissuade individuals from their choices. HOLIER THAN THOU , go wash away your sins .

    October 30, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Greg in MO

    To all of you liberals who believe that Christians should support letting the government care for the health of others let me tell you something: When I was a teenager I had a hernia operation that my family could not afford because I was not covered by my parents health insurance. If it was not for a charitable organization I would have not gotten the surgury. Guess what, you don't need the governement to take and give to someone else, you have the choice to do that today. If you feel the need to pay for someone's health care – do it. Forcing others to is not liberty.
    Do not let the government take your money and distribute it how they see fit. You may think Obama is all wonderful now but there may be a time when someone is in office that is not wonderful and you will have given them the opportunity to take advantage of the citizens of this country. That is what the Founding Fathers fought against and now some are opening the door to let it happen again.
    My point is: Democrat or Republican, generally all of us want people to be healthy and happy and we have the power to help that pursuit as individuals. But do not give the government the opportunity to take that power from us.

    October 30, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Eric

    I wonder if the Catholic church is willing to give up its tax-exempt status.

    I'm proud to be an ex-Catholic.

    October 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bigskyman

    the show of real leadership, faith, and concern for the common people, the Catholic Church will let hot button issues stop something that would benefit millions because it doesn't conform with their beliefs. they really care about people??? continues the history of not doing wants best for the poor and uninsured. what a joke.

    October 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Terry - Indiana

    I find it hard to believe that Catholic Priests would not want their parishioners to have the chance to buy healthcare insurance at the same price that Congress and the Senate buy healthcare coverage. With the saving achieved, the Catholic Church could ask for higher giving due to the increase in personal income for all Catholics. Maybe the Catholic Church could help me get healthcare insurance coverage with my preexisting condition. I am not interested in "free healthcare insurance", I will gladly pay what the bishops and priests pay. Seems like that "haves" want the "have nots" to carry the cross a little longer.

    October 30, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Nichole

    I always thought that "separation of church and state" idea was a good one. I sure do miss it.

    October 30, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Lue Blackwell

    The Catholic Church seems to be so hypocritical. Why do they not take a stand on the molestation of young "choir boys" in the church? To get involved in the health care saga-also is hypocritical-what do they have to gain, unless they have money invested in the insurance or medical supply business?

    October 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. CM

    I believe healthcare, like eating, is a basic need. The side issues of abortion, etc should not sidetrack provision of basic medical care for people in need. I believe that's what Jesus would have done. He did more healing than preaching. And he called the religious leaders (priests, Pharisees, etc) of His day 'hypocrites' and 'white washed graves'!

    October 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Bill

    The priests are right, but luckily this bill will never pass anyway. Healthcare is a luxury for the wealthy that can afford it, and shouldn't be made available to all else we'll have to wait in even longer lines to get the proper care.

    October 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Abdur Azad, New York

    Priests are priests. They should not meddle in politics. Health care reform is a political fight against insurance companies who cancel politicies for pre existing medical conditions. These companies are spending hundreds of millions of Dollars to kill the initiative, just to keep the status quo. Status quo gurantees their profit. If priests land in the debate and take a side against the reform that is likely to hurt the church goers. Priests should not forget that there are supporters of health care reform among church goers too.

    October 30, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Rick B

    Hey! Someone tell the Catholic Bishops that many of us do not practice the arcane beliefs of their cult and really do not approve of them imposing those idiocies on the rest of us.

    They can tell their on parishioners not the get abortions. Imposing those irrational religious cult beliefs on the rest of us by law is simply beyond the pale.

    October 30, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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