This past weekend the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops instructed pastors at parishes across the country to distribute material urging Catholics to oppose the health reform bills making their way through Congress for allowing public funding of abortions. Priests were to insert the Bishops Conference pdf leaflets and letters into parish news bulletins, distribute them at church doors or place them in pews. They were also directed to read a statement at mass to reinforce the message.
The Conference of bishops reportedly sent the orders out last Thursday, the same day Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented the mammoth 2,000-page House reform bill to lawmakers and the public.
The material explains that the Catholic Church supports reform that will “protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of conception until natural death.”
The insert contains phone numbers and web addresses at which constituents can contact their Representatives.
CNSNews reports that the Catholic Church has a “major stake” in the legislation:
A little over 100 million Americans are treated through Catholic hospitals and health centers. There are 624 Catholic hospitals in America. Also, 11 of the nation’s 40 largest health care systems are Catholic, such as Ascension Health, Catholic Health Initatives and Trinity Health.
As observers have pointed out, however, the bishops’ position seems to be oddly anti-government. The Church has never opposed any private health insurance policies that provide abortion benefits. It has never urged a boycott of particular insurance companies for offering abortion benefits. Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna, United Healthcare– all the major private insurers provide for abortion services in their policies. All policy holders are paying into the provider network and subsidizing all its services.
The strong stance by the Bishops led one CNSNews commenter to ask why priests are being directed to mouth Republican Party talking points.
Republican politics comes to the pulpit of The Mass. How sweet. The Mass becomes politicized.
HEALTH CARE REFORM IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES, NOT DESTROYING THEM.
Abortion is not health care because killing is not healing.
For over 30 years, the Hyde Amendment and other longstanding and widely
supported laws have prevented federal funding of elective abortions.
Yet health care reform bills advancing in Congress violate this policy.
Americans would be forced to subsidize abortions through their taxes and health insurance premiums. We need genuine health care reform— reform that helps save lives, not destroy them.
Tell Congress: “Remove Abortion Funding and Mandates from Needed
Health Care Reform!”
Visit www.usccb.org/action to send your e-mails today.
For more information on the U.S. bishops’ advocacy for authentic Health Care
Reform, visit www.usccb.org/healthcare.