LA Times attributes pro-Obama Catholics’ statement to the USCCB

korzenusccb LA Times confuses Korzen with the USCCB

In a November 8 article titled “House votes for ban on abortion subsidies,” the Los Angeles Times quoted a statement from the pro-Obama group Catholics United attributing it to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The article in the LA Times, which remained uncorrected on Thursday evening, covered the final vote on the House health care bill and the previous passage of the Stupak amendment.

"The amendment, offered just prior to the vote on the healthcare bill, passed 240 to 194,” wrote LA Times’ reporter Kim Geiger.

Geiger then added: “The compromise won immediate support from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged Catholics to ‘lend their full-throated support’ to the Democrats' healthcare bill.”

“‘The bishops' stamp of approval means that this bill is unambiguously pro-life and we will vigorously oppose those who suggest otherwise,’ the conference said in a statement Saturday,” Geiger added in the story.

Nevertheless, the words attributed by the LA Times to the USCCB actually belong to a statement released by Chris Korzen, Executive Director of the independent, pro-Obama group Catholics United, which has supported the president’s health care bill even when the U.S. bishops where opposing it before the Stupak Amendment passed in the House.

The quote mistakenly attributed by the LA Times to the USCCB is taken from the fifth paragraph of  Korzen's statement, which was released  late on Saturday.

The Readers' Representative for the LA Times, Jamie Gold, told CNA via email that "a for-the-record will be forthcoming."

The true USCCB  statement, released on Monday, November 9, a day after the original LA Times story was published,  was laudatory of the Stupak Amendment, but much less enthusiastic than Catholic United's on the health care bill.

In the USCCB statement, Cardinal Francis George said the bishops were thankful that “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.”  But the USCCB president also warned that “the Conference will remain vigilant and involved throughout this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation.” 

“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. We will continue to insist that health care reform legislation must protect conscience rights.  We support measures to make health care more affordable for low-income people and the uninsured. We remain deeply concerned that immigrants be treated fairly and not lose the health care coverage that they now have,” Cardinal George stated.

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