Friday, October 2, 2009

Kansas Bishops Write Congressional Delegation on Health Care Reform

Today, the four Catholic bishops in Kansas sent a joint letter to each of the state’s two US senators and four US representatives on the subject of health care reform. The bishops sought to express their concerns over serious deficiencies in the legislation before Congress, among them the fact that it fails to protect against public financing of abortion. The text of the letter is as follows:

October 2, 2009

As you know, Congress is in the process of considering far reaching changes to our nation’s health care system. We are pleased that Congress and the President are making health care reform a high priority, and we are hopeful that Congress will ultimately produce legislation that improves all Americans’ access to health care. However, we believe it is important that any reform of our health care system adhere to certain important principles, which we would like to take this opportunity to describe.

First, let us be clear that we believe our health care system to be in need of reform. Health care costs are rising at unsustainable levels, and millions of Americans lack health insurance. The Catholic Church, which is an important provider of health care, in particular to those unable to afford coverage or treatment, is especially supportive of efforts to ensure that the needy have access to high quality health care.

It is important, however, that any health care reform legislation truly be in the service of protecting human life. It is absolutely imperative that the final health care reform bill not contain any language permitting public financing of abortion. Indeed, we feel that it is necessary that the final bill contain explicit protections ensuring that public funds will not be used to finance abortion. Amendments codifying such protections have thus far been defeated by committees in both the House and the Senate, a most disappointing development. Existing protections are not adequate to meet the new circumstances that would exist under some of the proposals currently before Congress. If the federal government is going to expand its regulatory power over insurance providers, or actually provide coverage itself, then existing protections against taxpayer financing of abortion must be adapted to fully apply to these changed conditions. Mandated coverage of abortion by any plan, public or private, would poison the prospects for genuine reform and render the legislation unacceptable.

Any authentic reform of health care must also place special emphasis on the unique needs of those near the end of life, whether elderly or terminally ill. While the debate over end of life issues in the context of health care reform legislation has become heated and at times hyperbolic, we are nonetheless concerned by some of what has been proposed. Language in the House bill concerning end of life consultations has proven particularly contentious. Many Americans see in this language the possibility of government encouragement of those near the end of life to consider all options, presumably one of which would be the refusal of life-continuing treatment. The location of this proposal within the pages of legislation designed to reduce health care costs – most of which involve those near the end of life – is not reassuring, nor is the ambiguity of what the legislation actually requires. There should be absolute clarity in the final bill that Americans near the end of life will have access to the care they need and their fundamental human dignity demands.

The debate over health care reform legislation has brought renewed focus to President Obama’s regrettable decision earlier this year to begin the process of rolling back the conscience protection regulation put in place by the previous administration. It is critically important that doctors, nurses, and other health care personnel be able to practice medicine without being forced to be complicit in procedures they find profoundly immoral, like abortion. Failure to protect conscience rights could potentially put Catholic hospitals in an untenable position, which would have grave consequences for the one out of every six patients who rely upon them for health care. The final legislation should include language preventing recipients of federal funds from discriminating against health care providers who refuse involvement in abortion and other services they find morally objectionable. That such language was voted down in the Senate Finance Committee this week is yet another signal that much work remains to be done.

There are many other important components of health care reform that Americans are depending on their elected representatives to decide upon with wisdom and compassion. Americans should have choices with regards to their health care, and reform legislation should not place the country on a short-term or long-term trajectory for a system without choice. Health care reform should not become a vehicle for policies that discriminate against legal immigrants. Reform legislation for its own sake is not enough. Health care reform must improve health care, not merely change it. It must build upon the many strengths of the existing system, which the majority of Americans already have access to and regard favorably.

We were grateful for President Obama’s assurance in his September 9, 2009 address before Congress that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.” In order for this promise to be realized, however, significant changes to the health care reform bills before Congress will be necessary. We look forward to those changes and, hopefully, to passage of legislation that will improve the American system of providing health care.

Thank you for your consideration of these points and for your hard work on behalf of the American people.

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas

Most Reverend Ronald M. Gilmore
Bishop of Dodge City

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Bishop of Salina

Most Reverend Michael O. Jackels
Bishop of Wichita

"America's Best Friend": Obama Healthcare Cartoon

PRI has released a new video skewering President Obama’s purported health care reform, a video which characterizes the plan as a large, not-terribly-bright dog—well-meaning, but unwittingly destructive.

“This government plan is heavy-handed, out-of-touch, and ultimately not the answer to whatever health care problems are out there,” said Colin Mason, PRI’s Director of Media Production. “This cartoon is intended to illustrate that in a way that we can all relate to:.”

The video was hand-animated by PRI staffers Joseph Powell and Joan Robinson, who stated that they don’t believe there is anything else quite like this on the health-care video scene.

“In addition to being hand-animated by our staff,” said Powell, “we think its quality, simply as a humorous piece, is pretty high. We decided that our primary goal was to point out the utter absurdity of Obama’s plan, and we think this video does this nicely.”

“Obamacare will take a big bite out of health care for seniors,” said Steve Mosher, PRI’s president, “which is why it’s only appropriate to illustrate it as a bumbling canine who does far more harm than good.”

The video is available at PRI’s YouTube page, or by visiting PRI’s web site.

Churches Ask Senate for Abortion Funds

What can I say? It speaks for itself...

Washington, DC ( -- A coalition of mainline Protestant churches have authored a letter to members of Congress asking them to make certain the health care bills they are considering contain taxpayer funding for abortions. The letter comes from a group of churches that have long advocated the pro-abortion position.

Under the umbrella of the Religious Institute, the church denominations and more than 1,100 pastors and church staff from the denominations endorsed the letter.

The letter calls abortion a morally justifiable decision and opposed any amendments to the House and Senate bills, which current contain massive abortion funding, to strike that taxpayer-financing.

Already, federal policy unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized [abortions]," Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute complained.

The letter added that she doesn't want more abortion funding bans in place and complained that additional "restrictions" on abortion funding constitute a "serious moral injustice."

The article goes on, and at the end, names signers. Read the rest here:

Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Methodist Churches Ask Senate for Abortion Funds

Shared via AddThis

FOX News Poll: Opposition to Health Care Reform Grows

As Congress takes action on health care reform, public opinion on the issue remains divided and, at times, contradictory. The latest FOX News poll shows a decline in support for health care reform over the past two weeks.

Currently, one-third favors the legislation being considered (33 percent) and a slight majority (53 percent) opposes it. This compares to 38 percent favoring and 48 percent opposing the legislation two weeks ago (15-16 September 2009).

Americans are split along party lines in their support of health reform. A majority of Democrats favors the legislation (60 percent) while a large majority of Republicans opposes it (85 percent). Independents, an important swing group, are more likely to oppose health reform than favor it (57 percent oppose and 27 percent favor).

story here

Britain's Government Policy of Silent Euthanasia

While many are trying to reassure us that there is no danger to the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill, the wording in areas of the health care bills presented, as well as the blatant rejection of specific wording that totally rules out funding abortion, etc in the recent past has many convinced that tax payer money will be used.

The same applies to those concerned about the conscience protection that is either missing or very ambiguous, for those of us who cannot participate in abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, 'terminal sedation' or starving/dehydrating a person to death. The public option, putting our health care in the hands of the government, is also worrisome for many reasons, including what is happening in other nations:

Britain Already Has a "Government Policy of Silent Euthanasia": Anti-Euthanasia Activists

Read related coverage:

Britain Won't Prosecute Assisted Suicide: Chief Prosecutor

Britain's Pathway to Euthanasia - NHS Protocols for Dehydrating Disabled Patients to Death

British Doctors Practising "Slow" Euthanasia through Deep Sedation: BBC Report.

DMV style health care . . .

House Members Working on Second Phony Compromise on Abortion in Health Care

Stupak has been awesome in his efforts to keep abortion out of nationalized healthcare. Unfortunately, the pro-aborts refuse to remove it.

Members of the House of Representatives are working on a second phony compromise that would try to mitigate some of the concerns pro-life lawmakers and groups have about the abortion funding found in HR 3200, the main health care "reform" bill in the House.

The current bill contains the Capps Amendment that abortion advocates have been portraying as a compromise that prohibits abortion funding.

But pro-life groups and leading pro-life lawmakers such as Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan have exposed the Capps language as a fraud by noting that it allows massive abortion subsidies and mandates.

Knowing Stupak has assembled potentially enough pro-life and moderate Democrats to join Republicans in voting down the rules for debate on the bill or the bill itself if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't allow a debate on his amendment to yank the abortion funding, pro-abortion lawmakers are hoping to pacify him and his coalition.

story here

cross-posted from A Catholic View

US bishops reiterate health-care priorities, criticize Senate Finance Committee plan

In a joint letter to United States senators, three bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have outlined three priorities for health-care legislation and criticized Sen. Max Baucus’s finance committee proposal for failing to meet these standards.

The three priorities outlined by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop William Murphy, and Bishop John Wester are universal coverage, exclusion of abortion funding and support for conscience protection, and “equity for legal immigrants in access to health care.”

story here

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Letter From 183 House Members Urges Pelosi to Allow Vote to Cut Abortion Funding

The number of Congressmen and Congresswomen seeking to exclude abortion funding from healthcare continues to grow to a number that even CINO Pelosi can't ignore them.

A bipartisan group of 183 members of Congress sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter on Monday urging her to allow a vote on an amendment to cut the massive abortion funding and subsidies from the main health care "reform" bill in the chamber.

HR 3200 currently allows for both abortion subsidies and mandates and pro-life Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan wants the opportunity to propose an amendment to remove the funding from the bill.

"We urge you to allow members of the House to vote their consciences with regard to abortion and health care reform by allowing consideration of an amendment to prohibit government funding of abortion," the letter says.
cross-posted from A Catholic View