As the Senate Finance Committee prepares to vote on health-care legislation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made it known that none of the existing bills are adequate. All of them include abortion funding.
“So far, the health-reform bills considered in committee … have not met President Obama’s challenge of barring use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws,” the USCCB wrote in its Sept. 30 letter to members of the Senate. “These deficiencies must be corrected.”
The bishops’ letter refers to all of the existing health-care reform bills currently on the table: the Kennedy bill in the Senate, the Baucus bill, and the three versions of H.R. 3200.
This is the fourth letter on health care that the USCCB has sent to members of Congress since July 17.
“The bishops are basically together on this,” said Richard Doerflinger, associate director for policy development at the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB. “We are concerned about covering people who can’t afford health insurance now, but we are also insisting that it must be health-care reform that protects life at every stage and, so far, we don’t have that. We don’t have any bill in Congress right now that’s acceptable on the abortion issue.”
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously rejected amendments put forward by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would have the bill conform to current federal law prohibiting abortion funding.
Time magazine senior editor Amy Sullivan complained that the USCCB was “moving the goalposts” on supporting ObamaCare.
“I think it’s here [abortion] that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.”
Yet, the bishops have made it quite clear, all summer long, that they cannot support a health-care bill that includes funding for abortion.
Sullivan, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, might be reminded that the Catholic Church hasn’t supported abortion since its inception. Following the Sixth Commandment — Thou Shall Not Kill — the earliest Christian writing clearly prohibits abortion.
“You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child,” says The Didache, the teaching of the apostles, written about A.D. 140
If, as Sullivan thinks, the bishops are “moving the goalposts,” then she hasn’t kept her eyes on the true goal.