A Message From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on ObamaCare

The Bishops have drawn a strong line against abortion funding in the Senate version of ObamaCare.  Here is the text of their message:

As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.

•On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.

•On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.

•Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.

•Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.

ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators today by e-mail, phone or FAX.

•To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to


•Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.  Contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov & www.senate.gov.


“I am pleased that the House health care bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. On the other hand, the provisions on abortion funding in the current un-amended Senate health care bill are seriously deficient and unacceptable. I urge you to work to uphold essential provisions against abortion funding, to include full conscience protection and to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”


“I am deeply disappointed that the current un-amended Senate health care bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience. I urge you to support essential provisions against abortion funding, similar to those in the House bill. Include full conscience protection and ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”

WHEN: Votes in the House and Senate are expected at any time. Act today!It is good to see the Bishops entering the fray on this issue so clearly and forcefully.

Bravo! Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.


30 Responses to A Message From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on ObamaCare

  1. The USCCB’s assertion that health care is a human right is completely erroneous:


    Social justice must be purged from the USCCB and a return to God’s eternal justice must be made. As long as the USCCB thinks otherwise, I shall pay no heed to its pronouncements. Indeed, as a national council it has no canonical authority:


    NO socialized health care. NO social justice. NO common good. NO peace at any price. We have go to get rid of all that liberal Democrat crap and put it in the trash can where it belongs.

    Do we want justice? Do we want peace? Do we want health care? Then we must repent and convert. We must seek the Kingdom of God, His holiness and righteousness first, for without these we don’t deserve any social justice, any peace, any health care.

    This is so simple that the people at the USCCB who have been done educated into imbecility can’t understand it.


  2. Jim says:

    Paul – the Church begs to differ with you

    I understand what you are trying to say – you’re speaking of the “progressives” that have co-opted the term for their political aims (think Nancy Pelosi) – the problem is for the nominal Catholic who has never studied the faith, sweeping statements like that wipe out a huge chunk of AUTHENTIC Catholic teaching on social justice.


    Not to mention a dozen or so Encyclicals.

  3. Jim says:

    Here are two great articles that explain in detail what I think you are trying to say:

    Splitting social and life issues? Can’t do it.

    http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?ID=344… See More

    Catholic Social Teaching: Buried in the Bunker?


  4. I don’t give a darn what you people say. Health care is NOT a right PERIOD!

    You people and your accursed social justice crap are exactly why we have apostate pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage politicians in public office.

    YOU are the reason why 50 million babies have been murdered since Roe v Wade. YOU. because YOU placed the false god of social justice ahead of the true God jesus Christ. YOU are to blame for this economic crisis. YOU. So fill up on the FULL measure of your iniquity. Watch health care reform pass. watch and see babies murdered and old people put to death.

    You darn fools – the whole lot of you. I simply can’t express how utterly disgusted I am with every one of you social justice creeps.

  5. daledog says:

    A hearty Amen to you.

  6. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Paul, I think you will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated foe of ObamaCare than I, but you are mistaken in not thinking that there are people who want both universal health care and the banning of abortion. I disagree with them on their faith in government healthcare for a host of reasons but it is unfair to attempt to tar them all with the pro-abort brush.

    Additionally, please keep it civil. You are among friends here.

  7. Jim says:

    Paul Primavera Says: “Health care is NOT a right PERIOD!”

    No one here said it was. You obviously didn’t read the articles I linked to by your hyperventilating response. I am DEAD SET AGAINST Obamacare – you’re preaching (more like screaming) to the choir. The only point I was trying to make is the Church has a very rich body of teaching on social justice. Don’t let the vocabulary trigger an emotional response, doing so plays into the progressives hands and makes you look ignorant of Church teaching. The best thing you can do is study the Church’s social teaching and learn what it REALLY says as opposed to what the pro-death crowd tries to pass it off as. That’s all I was trying to say

  8. Elaine Krewer says:

    Counterfeit versions of precious possessions (gold, silver, jewels, art), no matter how common or rampant they are, don’t diminish the value of the real thing or render them worthless.

    Likewise, the fact that liberals often invoke a counterfeit or distorted version of “social justice” or “the common good” to advance their agenda doesn’t diminish the value of TRUE social justice as taught by the Church.

    To insist that social justice and the common good do not exist and are merely fronts for socialism/communism is not the teaching of the Church, but the teaching of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy. I have long believed that Rand’s philosophy was an overreaction to the way in which the Communists in her native Russia twisted the concepts of sacrifice, social justice and the common good to serve their own ends.

  9. Elaine Krewer says:

    Also, the belief that “health care is not a right” does not negate the fact that Christ commanded His followers to care for the sick, and (in the parable of the sheep and the goats) condemned those who refused to do so for having refused to help Him.

    We as Catholics have a duty to insure that as many people as possible have access to a reasonable level of healthcare regardless of their income status.

    However — and this is where the counterfeit “social justice” advocates go wrong — that does NOT mean that everyone has a “right” to obtain any treatment they desire regardless of its cost or its ethical implications (e.g. abortion or contraception). Nor does it mean the government (i.e. taxpayers) should pay for or provide health care, nor does it excuse individuals from taking financial and personal responsibility for their own health care as much as possible.

  10. Jim says:

    Spot on Elaine.

    A “right” also implies a “duty” or responsibility. People also need food (in fact even more so) does that make food a “right” ? What about housing ? Does this mean that the government should also provide for guaranteed food and shelter? Where do these “rights” begin and end.

    Our government is (and has been since the signing of NAFTA) systematically dismantling the productive parts of our economy and taking on the responsibility for filling the void because of the “crisis” THEY created. They appeal to the base instincts and play on peoples fears rather than fostering a virtuous society, and then wonder why there is violence.

  11. Yeah, health care is not a right. That’s what the doctors were saying with Terri Schiavo — remember? That is what is messed up with this discussion — people do not understand the implications of their arguments. They have just justified euthanasia and pulling the plug!

  12. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Rubbish. What was being said in the Schiavo case was that a husband had the right to slay his wife with the help of a court by virture of testimony of the husband, his brother and his brother’s wife that Terri had indicated at sometime in the past that she did not wish to be kept alive on a machine. This was vigorously denied by the testimony of her mother, father and her siblings. From this legal non-sequitur an innocent woman was put to death. It has nothing to do with ObamaCare. Nice attempt though Karlson to use the Schiavo obscenity to stump for socialized medicine.

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Oh Karlson, maybe you can debate the Schiavo case with Morning’s Minion on your blog. I believe he thinks the outcome of the Schiavo case was just peachy and completely in accord with Catholic teaching. I’d actually bother reading Vox Nova to see that debate!

  14. The point is that it was argued there is no right to health care, that there is a right to pull the plug if so desired. The whole point of arguments against euthanasia, against pulling the plug, is that there IS indeed a right to life, to medical aid, even if some family member desires otherwise. This is exactly a medical issue. The whole understanding of nutrition to those who are in a coma is indicative of a right to medical aid!

  15. And MM and I have discussed the Schiavo case before.

  16. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Have you discussed it on your blog? If so please give us a link. I would like to read it.

    What you are now discussing and the Schiavo case are two completely separate issues. Schiavo was not a case of the State attempting to terminate life support because she lacked funds to pay. In a case where the State is attempting to remove life support because of a lack of funds it should not be able to do so, not because of a right to health care, but because neither the State, nor anyone else, has the right to slay the innocent. The poor always have a right to health care by virtue of Christian charity, either through private action or government effort. I, and anyone else who can pay, have no such right to force others to pay for what we can pay out of own resources or through purchase of insurance.

  17. The point, Donald, which you have not yet met: she deserved a right to life, whether or not the state or her family thought it. She had a right to life, and that required a right to medical attention — a right which she was not granted. This indicates why a pro-life position must be pro-health care, because with a lack of the proper health care system, euthanasia (direct and indirect) will happen.

  18. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Once again Karlson the Schiavo case has nothing to do with the debate over ObamaCare. You brought it up for its emotional impact. This was not a case where she died because of the State cutting off her health care because it did not wish to pay for it. She died because her husband wished to have her dead, and the State granted him his wish. She needed no extra-ordinary care, and could have been cared for in a home setting with minimal training for her care givers. You are comparing apples and rock salt.

  19. Art Deco says:

    Terry Schiavo might have benefited from a rehabilitation program (IIRC, the one she had was cut short), but was primarily in need of nursing and custodial care. This sort of thing is financed not by medical insurance but by long-term care insurance. Public provision custodial care (in asylums and work houses) as a common policy has a much longer history than public provision of medical care to a large clientele.

  20. Art Deco says:

    Mr. Karlson, when you are done debating Minion, be much obliged if he would take on Todd Flowerday, who was his usual self during that discussion.

  21. While a certain formulation of the term “right to medical care” might be used in relation to the Shiavo case, it’s clearly irrelevant to the ObamaCare discussion. There the question was not at all about the means to pay for healthcare (that was, in fact, not an issue) but rather the claimed right of the husband to terminate the wife’s medical care without her clear consent. (And whether it is moral to terminate non-extreme medicate care even with consent.)

    That understanding of the “right to medical care” really has no bearing on the ObamaCare debate, which instead deals with the question of whether government should be the primary guarantor of people’s ability to pay for health care.

    Further, it’s a pretty incredible case of demanding that the fox guard the henhouse to say that supporting Obama’s vision for health care is necessitated by the Schiavo case, when Obama (and many of the same progressive Catholics cheering him on now) pretty much danced a jig over Schiavo’s grave. If we care about a vision of health care in which the helpless are not starved to death, not working with Obama would be a very good start.

  22. RL says:

    IIRC, Terri Schiavo was covered under insurance and her parents were willing to pay whatever medical expenses they needed to in order to have her husband just walk away rather than seeing her dead.

    The concern Henry raises is one of the primary arguments against the typ of health care reform being pushed. The advocates of Obamacare don’t favor to the side of life like Henry is. To the contrary, what they consider a right and health care is neither. Why would any concerned person want a government imposed system designed by people who consider abortion as health care, don’t believe that the unborn child has a right to health care, makes a moral and economic calculus that considers death of the weak and needy as a desirable outcome?

    If I’m not mistaken most of the Obamacare advocates were in favor of the killing of Terri Schiavo and critical of the efforts to save her.

    To the broader point of what a “right to health care” means, I’m nowhere near as convinced as some that it means a health insurance policy or that the government must provide it.

    Also, IIRC, MM was one of those who said the Schiavo matter was a private matter and implied that pro-lifers were simpletons who simple didn’t understand Church teaching.

  23. Elaine Krewer says:

    Good points RL.

    Also, even conservatives often argue that there should be a limit to how many pregnancies or children Medicaid or welfare/TANF should cover, on the grounds that women who choose to have children, or more than an acceptable number of children, should not expect the taxpayers to support them.

    I realize, of course, that this argument is directed at so-called “welfare queens” who have child after child without any thought for their OWN responsibility to support them, and usually without any thought of providing them with a stable two-parent home. However, this argument could easily be twisted in the future to justify government-funded health care limiting the number of pregnancies/births or the number of children that will be covered.

  24. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “pretty much danced a jig over Schiavo’s grave”

    When it comes to the culture of life, you can always rely upon Obama to be on the wrong side.

  25. RL

    We are discussing the question of whether or not there is a right to medical care. That is what was mocked in this thread. The point is that IT IS recognized, and I pointed to a case which THAT right was asserted. The issue is not “what did the insurance companies do” or “what did the husband do” or “what did her family do.” The question is: what right did she have? She had the right to health care — and that right was ignored. That is the point. And when people bring up “well, why are Catholics concerned about health care,” they better look back at Schiavo. She is staring them in their face. As long as they keep rejecting the Catholic concern for health care, they will keep letting more like her die. Yes, DIE. That the current reform is not good enough is agreed — but it is a STEP to help move us to see that health care IS a life concern. When the two are separated, you just get ideology.

  26. RL says:

    Henry, I don’t think you’ll find many others here agreeing with Paul’s stance that people don’t have a right to medical care. It’s certainly not what myself and others here are arguing when we argue your thoughts on the Schiavo case.

    We agree that Terri had a right to life, and we think the system/government failed her for not protecting her rights. However, you seem to be stating or presuming a number of things that don’t add up. That the idea of a person’s right to medical treatment equals a “health insurance policy” and that it either needs to be wholly administered or controlled by a government, regardless of whether it’s sound system from a moral or economic point of view.

    You seem to betray your own convictions by your advocacy. You said, “This indicates why a pro-life position must be pro-health care, because with a lack of the proper health care system, euthanasia (direct and indirect) will happen.” I agree with that on the surface (that a lack of a proper health care system euthanasia, among other injustices like abortion, will happen. Yet, you’re advocating a health care system that will institutionalize abortion as “medical care” and since the designers of the system are pro-euthanasia and have already demonstrated an ideology that considers abortion and euthanasia as desirable from a cost savings perspective. You said this is a STEP to help move us to see health care IS a life concern. I don’t see how you can reasonably say that. The current bill is being held up right now because the vast majority of the proponents won’t give any ground toward life. The legislation before us is not about life or justice, it’s about power and control – the power over life. Unfortunately the people seeking such power are not what you would have us believe.

  27. Gabriel Austin says:

    A couple of points.
    The “right to health care” has become confused with insurance, or who’s going to pay for it. It would be useful to keep these issues separate.

    When it is said that “the bishops” have made a statement, I always ask “which bishops”? Or is it a statement emanating from the halls of the bureaucracy of the USCCB whose employees are not bishops?

    A question I have is “why are the Democratic bullies so hysterical about including abortion?”. Mrs. Pelosi was candid in her comment to George Stephanopoulos that fewer babies would reduce expenses. Justice Ginsberg expressed her dismay that Roe v. Wade did not reduce the number of undesirable populations.

  28. Robert says:

    “why are the Democratic bullies so hysterical about including abortion?”

    Who ever pays the piper is apt to call the tune…

  29. Art Deco says:

    Terri Schiavo was not receiving ‘extraordinary life support’. She was receiving food and water, and receiving it not in a hospital but in a nursing home.

    A discussion of Dr. Paul McHugh’s take here:


  30. American Knight says:

    Health care cannot be a right in the sense that we conventionally define health care. Health care is not about making human beings healthier – that is an individual/family duty because to neglect the reasonable care of one’s body or the bodies of one’s family is a violation of the fifth commandment and also the fourth. Eating properly when possible, keeping the body in motion through work, etc. This cannot be mandated by the government, society or even the Church, although the Church has the proper role of informing us of the value of maintaining good health as reasonably as possible and reminding us not to fall into selfish vanity.

    What we are actually talking about is not health care – we are actually talking about MEDICAL care and HOSPITALIZATION. Having a right to such things means having access when these GOODS (commodities) are available through the innovation of man and enhancing the natural gifts that God has given us. The Medieval Church would not consider ‘health care’ a right because it didn’t even really exist. I don’t recall any comments from the Church about kings providing blood-letting to the poor.

    Medical care is a good. A hospital is a good. The service provided can also be considered a good. All of them should be performed in a spirit of Charity. This is why hospitals were invented by Catholics.

    We should provide access to medical services and goods to everyone who can afford it in a natural free market. Those who genuinely cannot afford it (meaning they aren’t getting 300 cable channels, as much alcohol as they can guzzle and their hair and nails done twice a week, etc.) should have it provided by the free gift of the medical institution, the Church, other faith organizations, individuals and in certain very specific, clearly defined situations where no other entity can or will provide medical care – the government.

    Insurance is just a means of paying for a risk that one chooses not to or cannot afford to pay for. This includes medical insurance. You cannot transfer risk to an unmanaged risk pool because then it is not insurance it becomes an entitlement and the problem with entitlements is that eventually you will run out of other people’s money and no one will have access to insurance or the commodity that insurance provides – in this case medical care.

    Government cannot provide insurance. What ever government calls insurance is simply legalized plunder. Of course, government is also not empowered to deny access to beneficial commodities such as medical care or insurance of any kind. By giving government control of health care we do not achieve universal care for all but coercively discriminatory limitation on care for those deemed unfavorable by government – especially the dysgenic. That has always been the case. Is it a wonder that the whores who are peddling this garbage site Margaret Sanger as their hero?

    We must always remember that there is a large qualifier before terms like social justice, common good, etc. that qualifier is Catholic – as in from Holy Mother Church – the mouth of God on earth.

    The wages of sin is death. Death is often preceded by illness – we should comfort the ill when we can because what we do to the least of these we do to Our Lord and Savior. Turning medical care over to the government is asking the government to have Charity – government cannot love – only people, angels and God can Love. Do we really want government to do to the least of these what the government has done to Christ?

    The government only did two things to Jesus – tax Him and Crucify Him. Haven’t we hurt him enough? Do we really need to make a government program to institutionalize our sins?

    A debate over whether some people should die because they are too old or too expensive or simply not born yet is no surprise when you involve elected idiots. They should not be considering these things. Especially the way they are currently going about it. If I am not mistaken, the proper punishment for treason is death. Sic Semper Tyrannis.

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