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Bishops to House: Keep Abortion Funding Out of Health Care Reform, Make Health Care Available to Vulnerable
Date:11/6/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. bishops sent an urgent message to the U.S. House of Representatives November 6, as House members steeped themselves in debate over procedures related to abortion and the health care reform bill.

Moments before meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the bill, the bishops called for "a fair process" that would permit discussion of "an amendment to keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections." Some in the House seek a "closed rule," a procedure banning amendments from the bill.

The letter was signed by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the bishops' Domestic Justice Committee, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chair of the Committee on pro-life Activities, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the Committee on Migration. The letter follows.

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we write to strongly urge you to vote for essential changes and a fair process in the House of Representatives to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all. Unfortunately, the legislation moving to the House floor falls fundamentally short of this essential goal. We urge members of the House to:

  • support an amendment to keep in place the current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections and to oppose a closed rule that would prevent the House from voting on this crucial matter;
  • oppose measures that would leave immigrants, especially legal immigrants, worse off as a result of health reform;
  • support access for immigrants to the health-insurance exchange, regardless of legal status, and support removal of the five-year ban on legal immigrants accessing Medicaid and other federal health-care programs; and
  • support strong provi
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
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