Bishop urges Catholics to oppose current health care bill

Bishop urges Catholics to oppose current health care bill

Bishop urges Catholics to oppose current health care billCHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has urged S.C. Catholics to oppose health care reform legislation as the House of Representatives nears a vote.

In a March 19 letter, the bishop advised the faithful of the Diocese of Charleston to contact their U.S. Representatives and ask them to vote against the proposed Senate health care bill H.R. 3590 because it will allow for federal funding of abortion, and will not provide conscience protection for health care professionals and institutions.

The House is expected to vote by March 20, and that will be followed by Senate and House action on a separate bill containing changes proposed by President Barack Obama.

“Unfortunately, some organizations and individuals have decided it is better to pass something to help a few,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We can never allow evil to be done for our own personal gain or for the benefit of some. Abortion should not be a part of health care reform, nor financed with tax dollars. Including its funding does nothing to reduce costs or increase access to medical care.”

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on the state of health care reform March 15. The bishops have advocated a bipartisan approach to solving national health care needs, but Cardinal George said they were concerned about two basic principles: health care taking care of needs across the human life span, and health care should not involve the expansion of abortion funding or of polices forcing everyone to pay for abortions.

“Because these principles have not been respected, despite the good that the bill under consideration intends or might achieve, the Catholic bishops regretfully hold that it must be opposed unless and until these serious moral problems are addressed,” Cardinal George said.

The USCCB president’s statement was issued after the Catholic Health Association endorsed the bill and called for the House of Representatives to pass it as-is.

“The bishops, however, judge that the flaws are so fundamental that they vitiate the good that the bill intends to promote,” Cardinal George said. “Assurances that the moral objections to the legislation can be met only after the bill is passed seem a little like asking us, in Midwestern parlance, to buy a pig in a poke.”

Catholics can contact their representative and urge him or her to vote no on health care reform at (202) 224-3121 or go to to send an e-mail.