On December 2, a series of events called the “Stop Stupak! Day of Action” took place in Washington. Among them was a protest on Capitol Hill in which members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) called the Stupak amendment an “affront to religious liberty.”
During the event, RCRC President Rev. Carlton W. Veazey quoted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Veazey called upon the crowd to defend justice by advocating health care reform which would not exclude access to any services.
According to an article from RCRC, Rev. Veazey also decried the recent USCCB campaign against federally-funded abortions saying it was “imposing its theological views on the American people with the Stupak amendment.” Calling the Stupak amendment “an affront to religious liberty and to the rights of women,” Veazey said that as a nation that is home to so many different faith traditions, “we must oppose any attempt to make specific religious doctrine concerning abortion the law for all Americans.”
The USCCB has spoken out against the bill calling it “morally unacceptable.”
In a Nov. 20 letter sent to U.S. Senators, the U.S. bishops noted that for the bill to be adequate, it must “keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections on abortion; protect the access to health care that immigrants currently have and remove current barriers to access; and include strong provisions for adequate affordability and coverage standards.”
In a press statement issued for the Stop Stupak Day of Action, Rev. Veazey also said: "We – as people of faith – have a special responsibility to bear witness in support of equal access to health care for all. In fact, it is our moral obligation to do so.”
He continued: “We are letting it be known that those who support this amendment do not speak for all religious leaders and people of faith. One particular religious belief system must not be imposed on all of us especially at the expense of public health. Women must have the right to apply or reject the principles of their own faith without legal restrictions," the press statement stated.
The RCRC claims that “the Stupak ban goes far beyond the Hyde amendment, which has unfairly prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion in most cases for more than 30 years.” Their website also contends that, if enacted, the Stupak amendment would “effectively prohibit millions of women from using their own money to purchase private health insurance that provides comprehensive reproductive health care benefits.”
According to a November 12 fact sheet released by the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, the Stupak amendment “is a modest and reasonable measure” which “reflects the Hyde amendment and all other existing federal abortion funding policies in the context of health care reform.”
“Under this policy, anyone who actually wants abortion coverage can buy it with their own money; the government does not use taxpayer funds for abortions; and no one who opposes abortion is forced through their health premiums to pay for other people’s abortions,” the Secretariat notes.
The “Stop Stupak Day of Action” featured nearly 500 protestors and abortion advocates from 30 states. The event coincided with the news that an amendment with “Stupak-like language” being introduced to the Senate floor by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).