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URGENT: Nationwide USCCB Effort on Health Care Reform
In an extraordinary call to Catholics to prevent health care reform from being derailed by the abortion lobby, the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin inserts to almost 19,000 parishes across the country. A copy of the insert can be downloaded below. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them, the insert states. It urges readers to contact Senate leaders so they support efforts to incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights in health reform legislation. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed, it adds. The insert highlights the Stupak Amendment from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) that, it states, addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights. Help ensure that the Rule for the bill allows a vote on the amendment, the insert states. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed. A dramatic ad of a pregnant woman notes that the Hyde Amendment, which passed in 1976, has prevented federal funds from paying for elective abortions, yet healthcare reform bills that are advancing violate this policy. The ad message: Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding and Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform. Bulletin inserts were distributed to dioceses October 29, the day Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled the House health care reform bill and in expectation that they will show up in parishes in early November. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the USCCB; Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chair of the bishops Committee on Pro-life Activities; Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville, Centre, New York, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged fellow bishops to promote this campaign in their dioceses. The bishops want health care reform, but they recoil at any expansion of abortion, said Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary for Communications, who helped organize the campaign. Most Americans dont want to pay for other peoples abortions via health care either. This impasse on the road to reform of health care can be broken if Congress writes in language that assures that the Hyde Amendment law continues to guide U.S. federal spending policy. The Catholic bishops have a long history of support for health care reform based on its teaching that health care is essential for human life and dignity and on its experience providing health care and assisting those without coverage. For more information, log on to the USCCB's website on healthcare.