The Archbishop of Kansas City has urged Catholics to contact key members of Congress and ask them to vote against the Senate health care reform bill. He also expressed his disappointment with the Catholic Health Association for its apparent willingness to accept government-funded abortion as part of health care reform.
Writing in The Leaven, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann noted specific problems with the health care bill. Its $7 billion appropriations for Community Health Centers can be used directly for elective abortions. It uses federal funds to subsidize health care plans that cover abortions, thus making abortions more accessible.
The bill also uses the power of the federal government to force people to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed to it, the archbishop wrote.
Archbishop Naumann said he was “deeply troubled” to learn that Sr. Carol Keehan, the Chief Executive for the Catholic Health Association (CHA), has urged the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for the Senate health care reform bill.
“This action by the Catholic Health Association could not come at a more critical time,” he continued.
The prelate noted that pro-life Democrats are a critical group objecting to the bill and “creditable” pro-life groups have found that the bill allows for “unprecedented” government funding for abortion.
“The Catholic Health Association’s position, in effect, provides cover for any member of the House who chooses to buckle under the pressure of the President and the Democratic leadership to accept government funding of abortion,” he lamented. “They can now defend themselves by pointing out that Catholic Health Care leaders recommended they vote for the bill.”
The archbishop charged that the CHA leadership took this action knowing that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) continues to urge a vote against the bill unless it is amended to prohibit federal funding of abortion and provide conscience protection for health care professionals and institutions.
Archbishop Naumann cited Sr. Keehan’s claim that disagreement centers on “the technical issue of whether this bill prevents federal funding of abortions.”
He thought this statement was either disingenuous or “incredibly naïve.”
“Either the bill permits previously prohibited government funding of abortion or not. This is not a technicality,” he insisted. “If the Senate had wanted to prohibit federal funding for abortion all they had to do was accept the language that had been adopted by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority.”
According to the archbishop, President Obama and the Democratic leadership have refused to accept language protecting taxpayers from having to fund abortion. He thought it was “foolish” to believe that the president or Congressional leadership will correct problems at a later date, charging that President Obama has been “scrupulously faithful” to his promises to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups.
He then discussed other problems with the Senate bill such as its lack of ‘adequate” conscience protections.
“One would think that the Catholic Health Association would be extremely concerned about conscience protection. However, if the Catholic Health Association is willing to compromise on government funding for abortion, then who needs conscience protection?”
Despite the CHA’s “laudable intentions” and the “gut-wrenching” examples of failures in the health care system, the archbishop said it was not permissible to try to improve some people’s quality of live by “cooperating in the killing of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our human family.”
He closed his column in the Leaven by urging readers to contact their Representative and those with “critical swing votes” to urge a vote against the Senate bill.
“They need to hear from Americans throughout the country,” he explained.
“Finally, I encourage you to contact Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association expressing to them your disappointment in their willingness to accept government funded abortion as part of health care reform.”