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U.S. Bishops Urge Senators to Support Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment on Health Care Reform; Urge Constituents to Back it
Date:12/7/2009

Amendment precludes use of federal dollars for elective abortion coverage

Bishops want Stupak-style House amendment included in Senate bill

Oppose making people pay for other people's abortions

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. bishops have voiced support for the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment to the Senate health reform bill and have asked voters to back it.

The bishops took the position in a Dec. 7 letter to all U.S. senators, after Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) proposed an amendment to prevent the health reform bill from using federal funds to pay for health plans that include elective abortions. The ban would be similar to the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, to ban federal funds in the Health and Human Services' appropriations bill from paying for coverage that includes most abortions.

Similar bans are part of other federal programs, including the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and included in the House-passed "Affordable Health Care for America Act."

"We urgently ask you to support an essential amendment to be offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) to keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of health coverage that includes elective abortions," the letter said.

The bishops also sent to the senators two fact sheets: Abortion and Conscience Problems in the Senate Health Care Reform: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/hatch-nelson120409.pdf and one on What the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment Does: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/nelsondo.pdf

The letter was signed by Bishop William Murphy of Rockvill
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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