.- A statement issued this morning by the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Francis George, said that the bishops âdeploreâ yesterday's Senate vote to bypass a pro-life amendment which would have prevented federal funding of abortions.
âThe Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,â said Cardinal George.
Moreover, the cardinal underscored that âthe Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.â
On Dec. 7, a letter from the USCCB signed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishops John Wester and William Murphy urged the Senate to support the pro-life amendment and âkeep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policyâ against federally funded abortions.
In response to yesterday's Senate vote, Cardinal DiNardo commented in the same USCCB statement, âCongress needs to separate facts and truth from political rhetoric on abortion fundingâ and that âthe Senate should not approve this bill in its current form.â
Bishop Wester added his voice to his brother bishops', saying, âhealth care must protect, not threaten, human life and dignity; respect not violate, consciences of providers, taxpayers and others.â
The USCCB statement also quoted Bishop Murphy who remarked that âCongress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all.â
Cardinal George concluded the statement by saying that âwhile we deplore the Senate's refusal to adopt the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment, we remain hopeful that the protections overwhelmingly passed by the House will be incorporated into needed reform legislation.â
âFailure to exclude abortion funding will turn allies into adversaries and require us and others to oppose this bill because it abandons both principle and precedent,â the cardinal insisted.