Bishops: “Deplore Defeat of Nelson Amendment, Working To Maintain Stupak”

Jodi Jacobson

On Wednesday, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling defeat of the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment a "grave mistake," and underscoring that they continue to work toward maintainingg Stupak Amendment language in the final bill.

On Wednesday, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling defeat of the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment a "grave mistake," calling on the House to retain and the Senate to "address" these "flaws," and underscoring that they (the Bishops) will continue to work toward maintaining Stupak Amendment language in the final bill.

The statement is printed in full below: 

“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment
is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,”
said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by
President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to
incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion
and plans that include abortion.”

Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic
Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing
abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections
because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the
life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work
with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform
which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the
legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious
problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of

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Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life
Activities, said: “Congress needs to separate facts and truth from
political rhetoric on abortion funding. Even our opponents claim they
do not support federal funding for elective abortions and they want
current restrictions to apply. The way to settle this often misleading
debate is simply, clearly and explicitly to apply Hyde restrictions to
all the federal funds in the legislation. That is what the House did
and what the final bill must do. The Senate should not approve this
bill in its current form.”

Bishop John Wester, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Migration,
pointed out: “For many years the bishops have strongly supported
accessible and affordable health care for all. Health care must
protect, not threaten, human life and dignity; respect, not violate,
consciences of providers, taxpayers, and others. We believe universal
coverage should be truly universal, not deny health care to those in
need because of where they come from or when they arrive here. The
Senate proposal falls short in these areas. Immigrants deserve access
to health care for their benefit and the common good of all of society.
We urge Senators to resist amendments that would leave immigrants and
their families behind as the nation reforms health care. We urge
Senators to support amendments that improve health-care access for
immigrants and their families and to oppose efforts that deny them

Cardinal George concluded: “While we deplore the Senate’s refusal to
adopt the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment, we remain hopeful that the
protections overwhelmingly passed by the House will be incorporated
into needed reform legislation. Failure to exclude abortion funding
will turn allies into adversaries and require us and others to oppose
this bill because it abandons both principle and precedent.”

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