Whatever hope the health care bill had of authentic Catholic support ended yesterday when the Senate defeated the Nelson-Hatch amendment. Mirroring the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House, this amendment would have prohibited federal funding for abortion.
Deacon Keith Fournier has written eloquently this morning about the significance of this moment in our legislative history. Fournier writes,
It is time for Catholic Action. Every U.S. Senator must hear from us. We must insist that there is no room for “negotiation” when it comes to the use of Federal Tax dollars for the taking of innocent human life. Failure to amend this Bill will require that any proposed “Health Care Reform” be opposed by every American who knows that the child in the womb is our first neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill our neighbor. We cannot cooperate in material evil by allowing our tax dollars to be used to kill children.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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I am not alone among critics of health care reform who have thought that much of its support was from pro-abortion ideologues who saw this as a golden opportunity to remove all the nation’s abortion restrictions. This would give even more millions of dollars of federal tax money for Planned Parenthood and its institutional allies in spreading the culture of death.
Those who think I am wrong need only note the chorus of voices in the Congress who have said they will refuse to vote for the health care bill if it does not contain federal funding for abortion. They would put their commitment to abortion ahead of their professed concern for the uninsured, including both the poor and the immigrants.
As National Right to Life said in its statement last evening calling for the defeat of the Senate Bill, it still faces a cloture vote requiring 60 votes. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has orchestrated a so-called compromise on the “public option,” disguising the public option as a public-private partnership under the White House Office of Personnel Management. The Washington Post describes it this way:
Under the deal, the government plan preferred by liberals would be replaced with a program that would create several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees health policies for federal workers. If private firms were unable to deliver acceptable national policies, a government plan would be created.
Would someone explain to me how that is no longer a “public option”? Talk about angels dancing on the head of a pin — the medieval theologians have nothing on the Senate democrats.
I expect the USCCB to issue a letter fairly quickly calling on all Catholics to urge their Congressional representatives to vote against health care reform. No matter the benefits of such legislation — and they are prudentially ambiguous — federal funding for abortion is a heinous Rubicon that cannot be crossed.