Beliefnet
The Deacon's Bench

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, from the USCCB, just sent around this e-mail, which I post here. It’s a response to recent media inquiries about the Senate version of the health care reform bill:

The Senate Health Care Reform bill clearly expands abortion services, despite suggestions by some political leaders to the contrary. Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops notes the following.

*We do not know how anyone who has spoken to the bishops could conclude that the Senate health care bill does not fund abortions. As the bishops have said in their letters to Congress, abortion problems in the Senate bill are so serious that, despite our strong support for expanding access to health care, we will have to oppose the bill unless
they are resolved.

*While the Senate bill includes some language limiting the direct use of tax credits to subsidize abortion coverage, it still violates longstanding federal precedent on abortion funding in two ways.

*First, the Senate’s abortion language limits only use of tax credits for abortion in qualified health plans, not other funding in the bill. For example, the bill authorizes and appropriates $7 billion for services at community health centers (increased to $11 billion in the President*s new proposal). The Hyde amendment does not prevent direct use of these billions of dollars for elective abortions (because the funds are not provided through the appropriations bill governed by Hyde); nor does any provision in the Senate bill.

*Second, the Senate’s language on tax credits still allows subsidies for overall health plans that cover elective abortions, against the policy of the Hyde amendment and other longstanding federal laws. The bill requires each American purchasing such a plan to make a separate payment to the insurer every month, solely to pay for other people*s abortions. This is an enormous imposition on the consciences of the millions of Americans who oppose abortion.

Those who are interested can find more at the USCCB website.