Bishops May Oppose Health Care Bill

None of the major health reform bills before Congress adequately addresses the concerns raised by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the areas of abortion, conscience protection, immigrants and affordability. In a letter to Congress on Oct. 8, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City said: “If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.” The bishops said: “Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values.... We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.” The bishops reiterated calls on Congress to ensure that health reform excludes mandated coverage of abortions and incorporates longstanding federal policies against taxpayer-funded abortions and in favor of conscience rights, makes health care affordable to everyone and include effective measures to safeguard the health of immigrants and their children.

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