Archive of March 19, 2010

W. Virginia ads confuse laity about bishops’ opposition to health care bill

Charleston, W.Va., Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Catholics and others in West Virginia are “very upset” by a Catholics United ad campaign backing the Senate health care bill, the local diocese says. Because of “misleading” messages, a number of the ads’ viewers wrongly think that the diocese or Church officials are now backing the controversial bill.

Bryan Minor, executive director of Communications and Development for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, told CNA in a Thursday e-mail that his office is hearing of “numerous” television ads that began airing on March 17 in the northern West Virginia area.

Minor explained that the ads ask U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan to vote in favor of the Senate bill to expand health coverage.

“I have not seen the ad myself, yet, as we are handling a number of phone calls about it. It is minimizing the abortion issue, apparently.”

“Catholics and non-Catholics alike who call the diocese are very upset when they first reach us … they think that the Diocese or Church officials have now agreed to back the Senate bill.”

Minor reports that the diocese tells concerned callers that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the diocese are not behind the messages.

Callers are told that Catholics United is “an independent political organization that is not sanctioned or recognized by the U.S. bishops,” Minor told CNA.

After learning this, callers “tend to calm down and then express their concern for the name ‘Catholic’ being somewhat hijacked for the purposes of encouraging phone calls to elected officials.”

Asked how the Catholics United campaign might affect public knowledge of the U.S. bishops’ position on the health care legislation, Minor suggested the ads’ position may help further mobilize the Catholic population to become “even more active” as the House vote on the Senate bill becomes “imminent.”

“In any event, it does require the average parishioner to carefully scrutinize what they see and hear in the mass media so as to gain (the) truth (as) to what the Bishops are espousing in such important matters,” Minor commented.

A statement on the diocese’s website says “confusing messages” have been sent from groups such as the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and NETWORK. Citing phone calls to the diocese, it remarks that parishioners across West Virginia have “grave concerns regarding deceptive political advertisements and public statements” from the groups.

These messages “are not consistent with the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops” on conscience rights and public funding of abortion.

“Furthermore, political action groups such as Catholics United—that are in no way affiliated with the diocese or Catholic Church—have started secular media campaigns that confuse Catholics with misleading images and messages that are not consistent with the position taught by the Bishops of the United States, including Bishop Michael Bransfield,” the website’s statement continues.

The “clear and unchanged position” of Bishop Bransfield and the USCCB is that unless flaws on conscience rights and abortion funding are addressed, the Senate bill “should not be passed in the House,” the diocese said on its website.

Minor told CNA the website message had been approved by Bishop Bransfield.

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Chinese Catholics to have ‘great celebration’ for Feast of St. Joseph

Beijing, China, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - Chinese Catholics are preparing for the Feast of St. Joseph with “great celebration.” Looking to Joseph’s example as a holy man and father, religious communities are preparing for final vows and immigrant workers have been invited to church.

"Humility, generosity, unconditional devotion, enlivened by a genuine spirit of service, living in poverty, absolute obedience and chastity, all these virtues that distinguish St. Joseph, which the Church celebrates on March 19, are so relevant for men today," a Beijing priest told his flock during a Lenten retreat, according to Fides.

Parishes dedicated to St. Joseph are especially preparing for the feast. The Parish of St. Joseph in downtown Beijing dates back to a church built by two Jesuit missionaries, Fr. Louis Buglio and Fr. Gabriel de Magallanes. The two were successors of pioneering missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci.

Marking the 400th anniversary of Fr. Ricci’s death, the parish has tried to unite the event with the figure of St. Joseph.

The diocesan religious congregation in Beijing dedicated to St. Joseph is preparing for the final vows of some sisters to be held on the feast day, Fides reports.

Priests have invited immigrant workers to help celebrate the patron saint of workers.

“Dear brothers and sisters, workers, the Church is your home, where you are received and where you breathe spiritual oxygen not only in the days of the Feast of St. Joseph, but all year,” they commented.

Fides reports that devotion to St. Joseph, the guardian of Jesus, has a long tradition in China. Every year, the feast is marked with prayers, novenas, and Eucharistic Adoration. Many parishes, seminaries, charities and schools are dedicated to him.

According to Fides, his status as patron of a “good death” is also resonant with Chinese traditions attentive to the spiritual aspects of life and death.

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Facing massive deficit, NJ governor proposes cutting Planned Parenthood from budget

Trenton, N.J., Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - As part of a wider budget cutting plan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has proposed the complete elimination of millions of dollars of funding for “family planning” agencies run by Planned Parenthood.

Christie, a Republican who took office in January, faces an $11 billion deficit.

According to Mary Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life (NJRTL), Planned Parenthood-run agencies have been receiving millions of state taxpayer dollars. Their funding had nearly doubled since 2002.

In the same period, New Jersey was one of the top three states with the highest teen abortion rates.

“We know that New Jersey can do better,” Tasy commented. “In all their literature, family planning agencies actually claim that their clinics reduce the number of abortions performed, but these statistics show they have failed miserably.”

Gov. Christie has proposed cutting family planning funding from the fiscal year 2011 state budget.

In 2009, Tasy reports, then-Gov. John Corzine allocated $7.6 million for family planning agencies. These agencies advertise that they perform “confidential” services for minors which include promoting and referring for abortion without parental notification or consent.

A long-time recipient of the money has been abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey, which was the lead plaintiff in a 1999 parental notification case.

NJRTL says it has repeated urged the defunding of Planned Parenthood, saying it is an “absurdity to fund an industry that has “failed miserably and has a financial self-interest in keeping the status quo.”

“We thank Governor Christie for wisely proposing the elimination of funding family planning as part of a solution to reduce state spending and reform government,” the organization said.

It urged the governor to “stand firm” and to line item veto any funding for family planning if it is restored to the proposed budget.

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Cuban dissident reiterates rejection of hunger strikes, states support for political prisoners

Madrid, Spain, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - In a recent article, the president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, made remarks rejecting hunger strikes and stressing his continued support for freedom and democracy in Cuba.

Speaking to the Spanish daily, “ABC” last weekend, Paya reiterated his call from earlier this month asking that Cuban prisoners of conscience end their hunger strikes.  “If in this struggle for freedom we give up our lives, or if those who persecute us end up killing us, so be it.  But we do not encourage hunger strikes or any conduct that could harm one's own life or that of one's neighbor,” Paya told the Spanish paper.

“We deplore all publicity and strategies that focus on the death of a human being,” he continued.  “For this reason we ask our brother Guillermo Farinas to discontinue his hunger strike. We only wish to celebrate the victory of his sacrifice in this strike if he is alive.”

Referring later to the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died last month after an 85-day hunger strike in protest of the inhumane treatment he and other prisoners received from the Cuban government, Paya said,  “They killed him through torture, beatings and abuse.  For his part, he died with great courage and dignity, but he was cornered and completely defenseless, a victim of a repressive state that showed him no mercy.  This is the horror that the entire nation is suffering.

“Zapata’s struggle is our own,” he added, “without hatred and violence. May God grant that his martyrdom help all Cubans to see each other as brothers and sisters and thus take the path towards reconciliation, freedom and peace.”

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Unborn babies are 'trophies' for abortionists, says Spanish archbishop

Madrid, Spain, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - Spanish Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes wrote this week that the battle for the right to life in the country is not over, and criticized abortion supporters for turning the unborn victims into “hunting trophies.”

“We must fill ourselves with peaceful strength to remind ourselves that the battle against the greatest contradiction of our age, with the new law on abortion - an incredible death sentence - is not over,” the archbishop said in a new pastoral letter.

The Spanish Senate voted recently to pass the Socialist government’s new law on abortion. The decision will allow women over the age of 16 to obtain the procedure up until the 14th week of pregnancy.

The archbishop criticized those who celebrate the new liberalized abortion law and scolded female government officials for “raising a toast to this strange legal victory, which is a greater license to kill more innocent and defenseless human beings, who are never allowed to cry.  The picture of these women congratulating each other, celebrating these macabre hunting trophies in which the hunting victims are babies whose births were cut short, is sad” he added.

For this reason, he called on Spaniards to “defend the lives of the unborn by defending the life of the mother, just as we also defend the lives of those who are born and continue their journey amidst a thousand difficulties of every kind ...”

“I’ve said it many times: killing a child in the womb of his mother is sentencing the mother herself to death as they themselves testify,” the archbishop said.

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Catechism now available in Chinese on Vatican website

Vatican City, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy See now offers access to the Catholic Catechism in Chinese through its official website. The service reaches out to millions of Chinese Catholics.

Written completely in traditional Chinese characters, the entire Catechism can be found on the Church's website,

According to a note recognizing the new service in L'Osservatore Romano, the translated texts of documents from the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law will also be made available on the site in the coming months.

Chinese is one of eight languages in which the Holy See now offers information.

The most recent statistics, from the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies in Dec. 2009, put the number of Catholics in mainland China at nearly six million in the Asian nation, but the Hong Kong-based Holy Spirit Institute reports the number is at 12 million. The faithful are served by around 3,000 bishops, priests and deacons.

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Peruvian cardinal criticizes health minister’s decision to allow morning-after pill

Lima, Peru, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - This week, the Archbishop of Lima called the recent decision by Peruvian Health Minister Oscar Ugarte to allow the distribution of the morning-after pill a “direct and frontal assault on the Constitutional Court.”  Last year the court ruled to prohibit the drug because of its abortifacient mechanisms in preventing the implantation of an embryo.

During his radio program, “Dialogue of Faith,” Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima said, “It is good that we address this issue calmly without unnecessary rhetoric, but we must ask Minister Ugarte to be a little bit more consistent and not try to fool us, right?”

“What we need to be clear about regarding this issue of the pill is that if our institutions are not strengthened, the country will not move forward. The Constitutional Court is an institution, the Executive Branch is an institution, the Legislative, etc, and I think that the actions of the minister were a direct and frontal assault on the Constitutional Court.  I don’t think this was the smartest decision and from both the moral and scientific points of view, there is a great deal of doubt in what (the Minister) is saying – and he knows it.”

Cardinal Cipriani also recalled that the Church’s evaluation of the pills' effects is based on extremely accurate data from doctors and scientists.  “As the bishops' conference has said, we seek life and the truth.  This pill is an abortifacient,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Cipriani said he was speaking “in the name of the unborn children in the wombs of their mothers who have no voice, and in the name of 99 percent of those mothers who I am sure want to have their babies. Let us not seek to cut off life,” but rather defend it, he concluded.

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Pope to meet with youth in St. Peter's Square for 2010 World Youth Day

Vatican City, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The 25th annual World Youth Day is to be celebrated on a diocesan level this year, which also applies to the Diocese of Rome. The diocese's bishop, Pope Benedict XVI, will host young people in St. Peter’s Square in celebration.

According to diocesan organizers, the diocese has invited young people from 15 to 35 years old to St. Peter's Square on the afternoon of March 25 for “a special event of festivity and prayer.” 

The Italian Church’s SIR news agency announced on Friday that among those in attendance, 5,000 young military personnel will be there to see the Pope.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day (WYD) in Rome and the 10th of the celebration in nearby Tor Vergata.

The Holy Father released his official message for WYD 2010 last Monday, in which he revisits Pope John Paul II’s letter to inaugurate the first World Youth Day. The message features the rich young man who asks Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

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Archbishop Chaput denounces false 'Catholic witness' in health care support

Denver, Colo., Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In a First Things column on Friday, Archbishop Chaput of Denver commented on how certain “Catholic” groups are working to undermine the U.S. bishops' stance on health care reform. Should the morally deficient Senate version of health care reform be passed into law against the will of the American people, he said, the dissenting “Catholic” voices will be among those responsible.

“On March 18, the advocacy group Catholics United, which worried so earnestly about Republican faith partisans controlling Catholic thought in the last election, rolled out an attack-ad campaign against Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak in his home state,” began Archbishop Chaput.

“Why?” he asked. “Because Stupak insists – along with the U.S. bishops and every major national prolife group – that the Senate version of the reform bill now being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House fails to exclude abortion and its public funding from the legislation.”

On that same day, the prelate continued, writer E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post “claimed that the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Francis George, had distorted the views of the Catholic Health Association, which voiced support of the legislation last week.” According the archbishop, Dionne then warned of a “moral opprobrium that would rightly fall” on the bishops if they succeeded in preventing the health care bill from passing.

“Dionne’s column came just days after Network, a Catholic 'social justice' lobby founded by women religious, also broke ranks with the bishops and endorsed the fatally flawed Senate version of health-care reform,” he added.

 In consideration of the examples given by these three Catholic groups, said Archbishop Chaput, “what lessons can we draw...?”

“First, the captivity of some Catholics to the agenda of current congressional leaders and the White House proves that faith partisans are not a monopoly of the political right, and that some Catholics have an almost frantic unwillingness to see the abortion issue for what it is – a  foundational matter of social justice and human rights.”

“It can’t be avoided in developing our public policies without debasing the whole nature of Christian social teaching. No rights are safe when the right to life is not,” he stressed.

“Second,” the archbishop continued, “people who claim to be Catholic and then publicly undercut the teaching and leadership of their bishops spread confusion, cause grave damage to the believing community and give the illusion of moral cover to a version of health care 'reform' that is not simply bad, but dangerous.”

“Third, for supporters of health care reform at any cost, facts don’t seem to matter when a coveted goal seems within reach. The American bishops have repeatedly shown their support for good healthcare reform. They’ve worked tirelessly and honestly for more than seven months to help craft acceptable legislation.”

“But they’ve also shown – and posted readily on the web – how and why the current Senate version of reform fails in at least three vital areas: abortion and its public funding; conscience protections for medical professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants,” he underscored.

“Congressional leaders have no one to blame but themselves for the opposition they’ve had to face. And this makes the arguments of columnists like Dionne – whose March 18 article was little more than a mixture of emotion and disinformation – all the more baseless.”

“Blaming the bishops is a cheap and useful way to divert attention from one’s own embarrassing partisanship,” he charged.

Archbishop Chaput concluded his remarks on Friday by saying that “If the defective Senate version of health-care reform pushed by congressional leaders passes into law – against the will of the American people and burdened by serious moral problems in its content – we’ll have 'Catholic' voices partly to thank for it. And to hold responsible.”

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Nancy Pelosi prays to St. Joseph to pass health care

Washington D.C., Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On the feast of St. Joseph, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invoked the patron saint of worker's intercession to help pass the current Senate health care bill.

Noting that St. Joseph was especially significant to Italian Americans and to workers, Pelosi said that St. Joseph, the saint Catholics revere for being the foster father of Jesus and the husband of the Virgin Mary, was important in passing the health care reform bill which would help “30 million American workers.”

The showdown over the Senate bill has remained in the national media spotlight lately as Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) continue s to reiterate his opposition to the bill because it provides for taxpayer funding of abortion. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also insisted that the bill “must be opposed unless and until these serious moral problems are addressed.”

Despite the outcry, Pelosi, a self-profressed Catholic, also used this morning’s press conference to promote the Senate bill by citing a statement from NETWORK, a social justice lobbying group of Catholic sisters. “I’m pleased to say that the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, two sisters that taught me in my life, were on the list,” she said. “But every order that you can think of was there.” 

Pelosi finished her appeal by urging representatives to “cast a life affirming 'yes' vote.”

Although Speaker Pelosi correctly identified that NETWORK represents close to 60 religious groups, she did not mention a discrepancy in the number of sisters the group claims to represent. The lobbying group claimed on Wednesday to represent 59,000 sisters, but USSCB spokeswoman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh issued unusual statement pointing out the membership claims were false.

“Network’s letter, about health care reform, was signed by a few dozen people, and despite what Network said, they do not come anywhere near representing 59,000 American sisters.” “The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice,” she added. “There are 793 religious communities in the United States.”

“The math is clear. Network is far off the mark,” Sister Walsh stated.

NETWORK's letter has also received criticism from the head of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, who charged that the group “directly opposed” the position of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on health care reform.

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Beatification date announced for Italian teenager who died in 1989

Rome, Italy, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Venerable Chiara Badano will be beatified next fall, the Bishop of the Diocese of Acqui, Italy announced on Friday. She provides a "meaningful" testimony to young people because she never lost sight of God in the midst of her battle with terminal cancer.

Bishop Pier Giorgio Micchiardi and the postulator of the Chiara Badano's Cause for Canonization announced on Friday that the date for her beatification is set for Sept. 25, 2010, according to SIR news.

Bishop Micchiardi's predecessor, now retired Bishop Livio Maritano, explained his reasons for putting the beatification process in motion for the girl who died in 1989, saying, "It seemed to me that her testimony was meaningful, particularly for young people."

According to an official website created in Chiara's honor, she lived a short, but intensely spiritual life before she succumbed to ravages of osteosarcoma, a malignant bone cancer.

The story of her life reveals an immense love for Christ and an inexhaustible faith in God's will. From the time she found out about the disease, she was often heard saying "If you want it Jesus, so do I."

As the disease ran its course over the period of three years, she was never heard complaining. After an operation left her paralyzed and suffering from extremely painful and constant leg contractions, she even said, "If I were now asked if I want to walk, I would say no, because this way I am closer to Jesus."

Having become a member of the Focolari Movement at the age of nine, she was said to have had a "mother-daughter like relationship" with its foundress, Chiara Lubich, who nicknamed her "Luce" or "Light."

Stories on the website dedicated to her relate that the young girl often reflected on the words of the foundress, “I'll be a saint, if I'm a saint now."

Contemplating the life of Chiara Badano and her example, Bishop Maritano explained, "There is a need for holiness also today." Her life is a "witness of faith, of strength fortitude" that instigates many people to change their lives, said the Italian bishop, adding that, "we have almost daily testimony of it."

SIR reported that Chiara will be the first member of the Focolari Movement to be beatified. Her cause was advanced with Pope Benedict XVI's approval of a decree last Dec. 19 attributing to her intercession the healing of a young Italian boy from Trieste who suffered from a serious case of meningitis.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregations for the Causes of Saints will preside over the solemn rite at the sanctuary Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome, and festivities will follow the ceremony in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone will celebrate a thanksgiving Mass at St. Paul Outside-the-walls on Sunday, Sept. 26.

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Caritas official says Chile is slowly moving forward after recent earthquake

Santiago, Chile, Mar 19, 2010 (CNA) - The director of Caritas in Santiago, Father Rodrigo Tupper, said this week, “Our people are rising up from their sorrow, our people are brave, tenacious and decent,” and for this reason, he said, “Chile’s soul is intact.”

Fr. Tupper made his statements after a visit from the Executive Secretary of Caritas Chile, Lorenzo Figueroa, and the Executive Secretary of the Office of Social Ministry of the Chilean bishops, Maria Ines Lopez.

After touring the areas impacted by the earthquake, Figeroa said Caritas would prioritize “maintaining the humanitarian aid of food and shelter; providing decent emergency shelter; contributing to the economic recovery of families and the recovery of their jobs; and facilitating the spiritual and psychological assistance for families and the community.”

For his part, Bishop Tomislav Koljatic of Linares also called attention to areas affected by the earthquake that have gone unnoticed, such as coastal areas and valleys among the mountain regions.

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Pro-life leaders: Senate bill bans conscientious exemption, allows billions for abortion

Washington D.C., Mar 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pro-life leaders on Friday discussed the prospects of the Senate health care bill, warning that the present version will ban conscientious exemptions among private health care plans while making “billions” of dollars available for abortion.

They urged pro-life Democrats to “stand firm” until better legislation can be written.

Speaking in a Friday press conference Tom McClusky, the senior vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), characterized the legislation as “the biggest expansion of government-funded abortion since Roe v. Wade.”

Also addressing the conference was Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-life Activities.

The Catholic bishops, supporters of universal health care since 1919, wanted to support the bill, he commented. They did not seek an explicitly pro-life bill, but only a “neutral bill.”

However, the Senate legislation is “morally unacceptable,” with billions in community funding appropriated outside of the Hyde Amendment abortion funding restrictions and not covered “by any limitation.”

A very long line of federal court precedent holds that if abortion funding is not explicitly prohibited then it is required, Doerflinger warned. The statutory language, which trumps Department of Health and Human Services regulations, will free up “billions” for direct funding for abortions.

The Senate bill also lacks Hyde restrictions barring funding for benefits package that include abortion. Its attempt to segregate abortion funding actually creates a “really stunning new conscience problem.”

“If a private health plan … decides to cover abortion, it must collect from every enrollee a separate payment each month just to pay for other people’s abortions. That’s not the situation now,” he said.

At present health plans “carve out” options for Catholic organizations seeking insurance that does not cover abortion.

“This actually bans conscientious exemptions, it makes the situation worse than it is now.

“I didn’t think it was possible for health care reform to make things worse than insurance companies on a matter of conscience, but this one has.”

According to Doerflinger, the bill also lacks “Hyde-Weldon” language preventing government bodies from discriminating against pro-life health care providers that refuse to perform abortions.

“There’s not a reason in the world the Senate should have rejected it … they just can’t stand to have anything in there that actually shows some respect for the conscientious objections of Catholics and others who object to abortion.”

National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) legislative director Douglas Johnson said that pro-abortion groups wanted to use health care legislation to “greatly expand access to abortion.”

Many of the Democratic leadership’s proposed solutions disguised this, he charged, adding that the proposals were not subjected to much critical scrutiny by the media.

In his view, the Stupak Amendment was the “most bipartisan thing that’s happened the entire Congress.” One in four Democrats voted for the bill and only one Republican did not.

President Obama could have accepted the Stupak Amendment and ensured it a place in the base Senate bill. If he had done so, Johnson explained, 60 votes would have been required to remove the legislation from the Senate version.

“We wouldn’t be having this discussion today,” he continued.

“The president did just the opposite. He lamented the House vote. He expressed opposition to the Stupak Amendment. And he and his agents collaborated with the Senate Democratic leadership to make sure that it did not get into the base bill.”

Johnson said that this vote would be a factor on the NRLC candidate scorecard and indeed would be “a career-defining vote.”

“If they are voting to put this bill on the president’s desk, they own it.”

Tony Perkins, FRC president, said the abortion issue was the “single largest issue” for bipartisan opponents of the bill. He compared the legislation to the Roe v. Wade decision in its possible breadth of scope.

The issue will “dramatically” change the political landscape in the November elections, Perkins predicted, because many people are concerned not only about abortion but about “forcing everyone to fund it.”

He claimed that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said everybody will be “forced to contribute to funding, providing access to and subsidizing abortion through this plan.”

“We don’t know what’s going to happen on Sunday,” he continued, discussing the scheduled vote on the bill, saying pro-life advocates will be working “aggressively” in 28 Congressional districts across the country.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Rep. Peter DiFazzio (D-Ore.) have unexpectedly opposed the bill with objections on grounds other than abortion, speakers told the press conference.

However, hard numbers were not available. Speakers warned that secure votes for the Senate bill were being announced to “create a perception of momentum” and were selectively reported in the media.

Perkins said that efforts against the bill are being made in hope that Congress will “yield and go back to the drawing board.”

“There are measures here that we would support. There are problems in our health care delivery system that need to be reformed, and there are ways to do that. We want to be a part of that, but not in way that jeopardizes human life, limits the freedom of Americans, and creates the tax burden on families that it will if enacted.”

Asked about speculation of separate Senate legislation to be passed after the health care passage, McClusky said they were “very wary” of any deal that “promised something down the road.” Perkins thought it would not fix the bill but was a “fig leaf” to allow pro-life Democrats to vote for this bill “thinking that the Senate is going to fix it.”

Doerflinger said it was “very important” that pro-life leaders “stand firm.”

Other topics at the press conference included tax resistance to mandatory abortion payments, the status of Catholic organizations which endorsed the bill contrary to the bishops’ position, and whether Catholic members of Congress could vote for the bill in good conscience.

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