.- Cardinal Francis George is praising the U.S. House of Representative's decision on Nov. 7 to prevent federally funded abortions and is urging the Senate to follow its example.
“The representatives honored President Obama's commitment to the Congress and the nation that health care reform would not become a vehicle for expanding abortion funding or mandates,” the Archbishop of Chicago noted in a Monday evening statement.
As the debate on health care reform shifts to the Senate chambers, Cardinal George, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said that it is important for the Senate to follow the House's example on preventing federal funding of abortion and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable.
“We remain deeply concerned about other aspects of health care reform as the debate now moves to the Senate, especially as it affects the poor and vulnerable, and those at the beginning and end of life,” he said.
Among other issues of concern to the bishops are: making health care more affordable for low-income or uninsured people and the treatment of both legal and illegal immigrants in an overhauled health care system. In a letter for Respect Life Sunday which was published on October 2, Cardinal Justin Rigali explained that the bishops are concerned that illegal immigrants could be prevented from purchasing health insurance, and that poor legal immigrants would have to wait five years to be eligible for care.
Cardinal George said yesterday that “we remain deeply concerned that immigrants be treated fairly and not lose the health care coverage that they now have. We will continue to raise our voices in public and in prayer; we ask our people to join us in making the moral case for genuine health care reform that protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all.”
The USCCB, he added, will remain “vigilant” and “involved” throughout the entire process to “ensure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation.”