Months after threatening to oppose the health care overhaul over abortion – and one week after the election of a 41st Republican senator cost the Democrats their filibuster-proof majority, casting passage into doubt – Catholic bishops now are urging Congress against dropping the project.
“The health care debate, with all its political and ideological conflict, seems to have lost its central moral focus and policy priority, which is to ensure that affordable, quality, life-giving care is available to all,” Cardinal Daniel DiDinardo and bishops William F. Murphy and John Wester, writing on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, say in a letter sent to members of Congress this week. “Now is not the time to abandon this task, but rather to set aside partisan divisions and special interest pressures to find ways to enact genuine reform. Although political contexts have changed, the moral and policy failure that leaves tens of millions of our sisters and brothers without access to health care still remains.”
The bishops have advocated consistently for broadening access to health care, but oppose abortion. In November, the conference took an active role in lobbying for an amendment to the House version of the health care overhaul to prohibit taxpayer subsidies for insurance plans that cover the procedure.