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Health Reform Bill Needs More Work Despite New Language on Abortion, Say Catholic Bishops
Date:12/19/2009

Federal government must not expand its role enabling abortions

Bill should not go forward unless and until problems remedied

Protection of life, conscience rights; fairness to legal immigrants; affordability top issues

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City said December 19, as senators proceeded closer to a vote. Cardinal DiNardo chairs the bishops' Committee on Pro-life Activities. Bishop Murphy chairs the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Wester chairs the bishops' Committee on Migration.

"Yesterday the bishops commented on good-faith efforts by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) to improve the pending Senate health care reform bill on the issues of abortion and conscience rights," Cardinal DiNardo, Bishop Murphy and Bishop Wester said. "Today a Manager's Amendment was proposed to make final changes in that bill. The amendment includes some improvements from Senator Casey's proposal, including adoption tax credits and assistance for pregnant women, but differs from that proposal in other ways: It does not seem to allow purchasers who exercise freedom of choice or of conscience to 'opt out' of abortion coverage in federally subsidized health plans that include such coverage. Instead it will require purchasers of such plans to pay a distinct fee or surcharge which is extracted solely to help pay for other people's abortions. Further the government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to longstanding law governing this agency.

"Therefore, while we appreciate the good-faith efforts made by Senators Robe
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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