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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

e Centre, New York, chair of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chair of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the bishops' Committee on Migration.

"This amendment will have the same effect as the Stupak-Smith-Ellsworth-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Pitts Amendment already accepted in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority," the letter said. "Like that amendment, it does not change the current situation in our country: Abortion is legal and available, but no federal dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that include elective abortions. This amendment does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people's abortions."

The letter said that the bill currently before the Senate "allows the HHS Secretary to mandate abortion coverage throughout the government-run 'community health insurance option.' It also provides funding for other plans that cover unlimited abortions, and creates an unprecedented mandatory 'abortion surcharge' in such plans that will require pro-life purchasers to pay directly and explicitly for other people's abortions. The bill does not maintain essential nondiscrimination protections for providers who decline involvement in abortion. The Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment simply corrects these grave departures from current federal policy."

"We urge the Senate to support the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment keeping the health care bill abortion-neutral. As other amendments are offered to the bill that address our priorities on affordability and fair treatment of immigrants, we will continue to communicate our positions on these issues to the Senate," the bishops said.

In supporting the amendment th
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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