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Pro-Life U.S. Reps. & Religious Leaders: Senate Health Bill is Pro-life

March 18, 2010, 5:07 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

Listen to audio from the press conference: Pro-life religious leader press conference.mp3

Pro-life religious leaders and Members of Congress set forth the facts about abortion funding restrictions in the Senate health care bill today and made clear that the bill – which would cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans and provide critical support for pregnant women – supports life at all stages. Grounded in their faith and the facts, these leaders echoed the consensus reached by health policy and legal experts: there is no federal funding for abortion in the Senate bill.

“We must not lose sight of what is at stake here–the lives of 31 million American children, adults, and seniors who don’t have health insurance,” Rep. Dale Kildee (MI-5) said. “I will be 81 years old in September. Certainly at this point in my life I’m not going to change my mind and support abortion and I’m not going to risk my eternal salvation.” Kildee said that he came to his position after extensive study of the Senate bill.

Francis Xavier Doyle, former Associate General Secretary, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said: “I want to especially thank pro-life Members of Congress like Rep. Dale Kildee and Rep. Charlie Wilson who have worked so hard over these many months for taking a thoughtful and deliberative approach to addressing this monumental challenge. You have followed your conscience and maintained important principles that reflect core values in a way that is often rare in politics today.

“I’m opposed to abortion, and I think the language in the Senate bill ensures that there will be no federal funding of abortions,” Rep. Charlie Wilson (OH-6) said. “As a pro-life Catholic, I want to thank the religious leaders gathered today for making this issue even clearer.”

Yesterday, following the Catholic Health Association’s statement of support for the Senate bill, 60 heads of Catholic women’s religious orders representing nearly 59,000 Catholic nuns endorsed the Senate bill yesterday. Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, who organized the statement in less than 48 hours, said: “I think that this quick response is a sign of the fact that Catholic Sisters deal every day with people who do not have access to health care and are suffering because of it.” Asked if it was hard to come out in support of the bill, Sister Campbell said, “No, it’s not hard when you know the daily pain of people who do not have access to health care; and you know that 45,000 people die each year because they don’t have insurance. And then you read the Gospel, it’s easy to respond as Jesus did to answer their need.”

Dr. Timothy Jost, Professor of Law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law who has more than 30 years of legal and health policy experience, refuted false claims that community health centers would fund abortion and that individuals would be forced to pay for abortion coverage. His detailed analysis of the latest false claims about abortion funding is available here: http://law.wlu.edu/faculty/facultydocuments/jost/Jost_Response_to_Bishops_3.14.10.pdf

“Catholic social teaching calls for health care for all and we are finally on the brink of genuine reform,” said Morna Murray, president of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. “The Stupak amendment is not the only way to prevent federal funding of abortion.” Murray stated. “We are confident this life-affirming bill maintains long-standing restrictions on federal funding of abortion and, in fact, we believe access to health care and new supports for vulnerable pregnant women will help reduce the number of abortions”

Last week, 25 pro-life Catholic and Evangelical leaders urged Members of Congress not to let misleading information about the abortion provisions in the Senate health care bill block passage of sorely-needed reform. One of the signers of that letter to Congress, Ron Sider, President of Evangelicals for Social Action, said: “It is a moral outrage for the richest nation in history to leave 47 million of its people without health insurance. This legislation substantially extends coverage and also retains the long-standing stance of the Hyde Amendment against federal funding of abortion. It will save thousands of lives, cover millions of people, and prevent federal funding of abortion.”

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