Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Case of the Missing Moral Authority

By Judie Brown

These past few days of haggling and heckling over H.R. 3962, the Pelosi version of  Obama-style  “health care reform,” have left me with a rather sick feeling. What I have learned about the levers of power and how corrupting they can be, even to those in positions of moral leadership such as the Catholic bishops of this nation, is a sobering lesson indeed.

I first surmised that something was amiss when Justin Cardinal Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, sent a letter on Saturday, November 7 to each member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

The letter urged the representatives to vote in favor of the “Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment,” commonly referred to as the Stupak Amendment. The USCCB asserted that this amendment would provide consistent protection for the rights of conscience and maintain the current law on abortion funding. It should be noted that, tragically, current law still allows taxpayer funding of abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother.

The letter further states,
The Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment will not affect coverage of abortion in non-subsidized health plans, and will not bar anyone from purchasing a supplemental abortion policy with their own funds. Thus far, H.R. 3962 does not meet President Obama’s commitment of barring use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws.
In the days following the passage of the Stupak Amendment, which led directly to the passage of the Pelosi bill, it has been argued that the amendment’s passage is a victory for pro-life Americans. We are sorry to have to throw cold water on the celebration, but frankly, this is false, for the following reasons.

First, there is the undeniable fact that whatever the seriously deficient Stupak Amendment may or may not do, its language could fall out of any bill ultimately voted on in President Obama’s quest to pass a “health care reform” bill. Second, the Stupak Amendment only addresses abortion funding (and only partially at that).

The Pelosi bill (H.R. 3962) includes the following provisions:

 Expanded access to and funding of abortifacient contraception  (section 1714)

• Federal funding of Planned Parenthood-style permissive sex education programs “to prevent teen pregnancy” (section 2526), similar to that stipulated in the Senate version of Obamacare

 Deceptive definitions that, in fact, allow euthanasia through withholding or withdrawing “medical treatment or medical care” and withholding or withdrawing of  “nutrition or hydration” (section 240)
• Vaguely worded references to conscience rights and only partial protection of the same (sections 258 and 259)
• Language that forces a “participating health benefits plan” to not “discriminate” against any facilities that “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” (section 304)
Of course, the first two provisions would result in massive new federal subsidies for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which peddle contraceptives, abortion and sexual promiscuity, especially to our youth.

The bottom line is that the intent to restore full protection of the human person and his inalienable right to life does not appear to be high on the USCCB’s list of priorities. Instead, it appears content with maintaining the sordid, deadly status quo. This leads one to presume that the USCCB wants mandatory health care coverage for one and all more than it desires the protection of all vulnerable human beings’ right to life.