All of the Catholic bishops in Texas released a statement on health care reform on Tuesday, warning that the legislation currently under consideration does not adequately ensure the protection of all human life.
The statement issued by the Texas Catholic Conference, which represents all 15 dioceses in Texas, said that the bishops “hope that our national leaders will work together to bring about genuine life-affirming reform to our nation’s health care system.”
“Our Catholic moral tradition teaches that every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death, has an innate dignity that entitles him or her to certain rights and protections, including the fundamental right to life and the right to affordable healthcare, which flows from the right to life,” they stated.
However, the bishops of Texas also said that they are concerned that the current proposed reforms do not respect these human rights. They singled out the Capps Amendment for criticism, saying that it “does not adequately ensure the protection of all human life.”
Addressing another controversial, if not problematic, facet of the current reforms, the bishops asserted that “the cost structures of any health care reform plan must not impose excessive financial burdens on low and moderate income individuals and families.”
The bishops also called for an expansion of the social safety net, writing, “Measures must also be in place to safeguard the health of all of society, including the poor, the elderly, and immigrants. Legal immigrants and their families must be allowed timely access to comprehensive and affordable health care coverage and an adequate safety net must be maintained for those who remain uncovered.”
The statement closed with a reminder of the importance of reform and a warning.
“The Catholic Bishops of Texas will continue to support reform of our nation's health care system in ways that respect the lives of all human persons while providing affordable access to health care for all. We will be a committed partner in advancing reform on this life-and-death issue; but if the final form of the legislation does not include acceptable language in these areas then we will have to oppose it vigorously.”
Among the signing bishops was Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. DiNardo sits on the USCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities and is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
To read the full statement by the Catholic bishops of Texas, go to: http://www.txcatholic.org/documents/2009-Texas-Catholic-Conference-Health-Care-Statement.pdf