Catholics United group avoids taking stand on legal abortion


Catholics United, responding to charges that it is a “fake Catholic group” for supporting the Senate health care bill despite its funding for abortion, was non-committal on abortion. Its head said Catholics United is “neither pro-abortion rights or anti-abortion rights” but instead “pro-common ground.”

Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, had told the Christian Science Monitor that Catholics should be open to a version of the heath care bill that funds abortions.

“The wrong thing would be for anyone to be so firmly entrenched in their positions on federal funding of abortion that they’re not willing to come to the table and talk about a compromise,” he said.

Commentator Deal Hudson, a Catholic Republican, then criticized Catholics United for being one of the “fake Catholic groups” that are now backing a version of the national health care bill which funds abortion.

In a note to Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News & World Report’s blog “God and Country,” Korzen replied:

“Abortion is legal in the United States, and there's not much either Catholics United or Deal Hudson can do to change that. What we can do is find ways to unite Americans around common ground approaches to abortion, something Hudson and company have consistently opposed doing. Ensuring that pregnant women and children have insurance coverage should be a no-brainer for Catholics.

“In short, I wouldn't call us pro-abortion rights or anti-abortion rights. We're pro-common ground,” he equivocated.

As evidence, he cited Catholics United’s support for the House bill after the Stupak Amendment language was passed, charging that Hudson “just hates the idea of health care reform” and abortion provides “an all-too-convenient excuse.”

In a September statement, Catholics United joined its allies in charging that Catholic bishops critical of the bill “echo partisan talking points” and create an impression that the Catholic Church does not vigorously advocate health care reform.

In a Dec. 7 letter, several Catholic bishops leading key committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote that if the Senate health care reform bill fails to include Hyde Amendment-type restrictions on abortion funding then the legislation should be opposed.

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