U.S. Bishops: Current Health Care Bills Violate Essential Principles; Will Seek Changes or Have to Oppose

Fri Oct 9, 2009 10:22am EDT

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U.S. Bishops: Current Health Care Bills Violate Essential Principles; Will
Seek Changes or Have to Oppose





Bishops' concerns include abortion, conscience, immigrants, affordability


Reaffirm commitment to work for reform that respects life and dignity of all


WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three chairmen of the bishops'
committees working on health care reform urged the U.S. Congress to improve
current health care reform legislation, expressing their "disappointment that
progress has not been made on the three priority criteria for health care
reform" cited in their previous letters.


The October 8 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and
Bishop John Wester reiterated the bishops' main concerns: that no one should
be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion, that health care should be
affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, and that the needs of
legal immigrants are met.


Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Wester chair the U.S. bishops'
committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and
Immigration, respectively.


The bishops reaffirmed their commitment to working with Congress and the
Administration toward genuine health care reform, but stated, "If final
legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose
the bill."


"We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria,"
wrote the bishops. "However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting
freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated
in committee votes."


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has advocated for
health care reform for decades. The bishops wrote that "Catholic moral
tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to
protecting human life and dignity. Much-needed reform of our health care
system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never
in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work
tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that
clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all."


The full text of the letter can be found online at: 
www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-10-08-healthcare-letter-congress.pdf


Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
health care reform, legislation, House, Senate, U.S. Congress, letter,
chairman, Pro-Life, Domestic Justice and Human Development, Immigration,
immigrants, the poor, conscience rights, abortion coverage, affordability,
oppose


SOURCE  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat for Pro-Life
Activities

Don Clemmer, USCCB, O: +1-202-541-3206, M: +1-260-580-1137
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