Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

Friday, July 16, AD 2010

The American Life League (ALL) is making a strong case of placing most of the blame for passage of ObamaCare squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

What the ALL is alleging is that the USCCB was very desperate to push for universal health coverage that they compromised on some key principles.  One of which was that of abortion where instead of fighting against abortion they decided to stick their heads in the ground and use “abortion neutral” language.

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10 Responses to Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

  • It was imprudent for the USCCB to advocate for universal health care. While it is important and appropriate for the USCCB to explain the moral rules of engagement regarding access to health care, how a society can best satisfy those moral imperatives is outside its competency. Its opinions are no more or less instructive or insightful than mine, yours, etc. One of the most important moral rules of engagement regarding health care is that abortion is unacceptable.

  • I agree with Mike, but this is BS. The bishops (who certainly favor HC reform of some sort and in many or most cases prefer a government based system) were one of the loudest and most influential voices against abortion and the lack of conscience provisions. If it weren’t for them and other pro-life orgs like NRTL Obamacare would have steamrolled through with generous abortion provisions. In large part it was their influence with “pro-life” Dems that resulted in making the matter an obstacle to be overcome by Dem leadership and gaining what little protections there are.

  • There = their. Illiterate or something.

  • RL,

    Got it fixed for you buddy.

    Cardinal George personally telephoned pro-life GOPers to push for the pro-life amendment when it was in the House.

    He didn’t do any such thing when Bart Stupak and his Benedict Arnold’s reversed course and put the death sentence on innocent unborn children.

  • I’m with RL. The USCCB was one of the loudest opponents of ObamaCare. To say that they are somehow responsible for it passing is bizarre.

  • Thanks Tito.

    The bishops spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen. They made it clear to Stupak too. The bishops were rightfully disappointed in the “pro-life” Dems that changed their vote, and outraged at the shenanigans and betrayal of the CHA. I use the owrd outraged because that is pretty much what it would take for them to speak so disapprovingly publicly.

  • Why is it that anyone continues to think that our bishops are men of honor? Which of them would accept martyrdom in support of Church? Why was it necessary for the Vatican to issue rules about the protection of children?

    Blind mouths, as Milton called them.

    Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
    A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least That to the faithful herdman’s art belongs!
    What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
    And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
    Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw:
    The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
    Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
    Daily devours apace, and nothing said:

  • Gabriel,
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process.

  • Politics are a problem for the USCCB. There are many so called “Catholics” who continue their support of todays culture and relativisms in Congress. The only fault of these Bishops , for most of them , is their inability in their teaching of the Church’s tenets to really enforced these teachings on those politicians after meetings and consultations with these so called “catholics” who continue to support the culture of death. A good example is the record of Nancy Pelosi and yet the extreme measure of excomunication is not used. These leaves many of the laity to wonder why they also can not pick and choose what tenets they may or may not follow, or disagree with, or why if these politicians are are able to cotinue their ” standing ” in the Church why then can’t they.

  • Mike Petrik said Friday, July 16, 2010 A.D.
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process”.

    My point is quite simple: our bishops are failing in their duty. Compare ours with the bishops in China, Vietnam, Africa.
    A.N.Whitehead described religion in our time as “decoration for comfortable lives”. Our bishops are afraid; they congregate behind the chancery walls and the bureaucratic pomposities of the USCCB.

    Consider but the inanities of Fr. McBrien, published in so many diocesan papers. Uncharitable is permitting his misleading notions to be published under episcopal authority. {One among many examples: Fr. McBrien believes that ensoulment of the fetus happens three months after conception – which is to say that an abortion before the 3rd month is not murder].

    Bishops like hanging around politicians. They are not unlike the Arian bishops who delighted in being received at the court in Constantinople. Plus ca change…

HHS Statement on Abortion Funding

Thursday, July 15, AD 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the following statement regarding allegations that newly approved Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans would cover abortions:

As is the case with FEHB plans currently, and with the Affordable Care Act and the President’s related Executive Order more generally, in Pennsylvania and in all other states abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.

Our policy is the same for both state and federally-run PCIP programs. We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan at both the state and federal levels. The contracts to operate the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan include a requirement to follow all federal laws and guidance.

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0 Responses to HHS Statement on Abortion Funding

  • A case of “he says, she says”? Who’s right?

  • “The high-risk pool program is one of the new programs created by the sweeping health care legislation (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that President Obama signed into law on March 23. The law authorizes $5 billion in federal funds for the program, which will cover as many as 400,000 people when it is implemented nationwide.

    “The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million in federal tax funds, which we’ve discovered will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states. “This is just the first proof of the phoniness of President Obama’s assurances that federal funds would not subsidize abortion — but it will not be the last.”

    An earlier version of the health care legislation, passed by the House of Representatives in November 2009, contained a provision (the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) that would have prevented federal funds from subsidizing abortion or insurance coverage of abortion in any of the programs created by the bill, including the high-risk pool program. But President Obama opposed that pro-life provision, and it was not included in the bill later approved by both houses and signed into law. An executive order signed by the President on March 24, 2010 did not contain effective barriers to federal funding of abortion, and did not even mention the high-risk pool program.

    “President Obama successfully opposed including language in the bill to prevent federal subsidies for abortions, and now the Administration is quietly advancing its abortion-expanding agenda through administrative decisions such as this, which they hope will escape broad public attention,” Johnson said.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has emphasized that the high-risk pool program is a federal program and that the states will not incur any cost. On May 11, 2010, in a letter to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on implementation of the new law, DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that “states may choose whether and how they participate in the program, which is funded entirely by the federal government.”

    Details of the high-risk pool plans for most states are not yet available. But on June 28, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario (a member of the appointed cabinet of Governor Edward Rendell, a Democrat) issued a press release announcing that the federal Department of Health and Human Services had approved his agency’s proposal for implementing the new program in Pennsylvania. “The state will receive $160 million to set up the program, which will provide coverage to as many as 5,600 people between now and 2014,” according to the release. “The plan’s benefit package will include preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services, prescription medications and much more, with subsidized premiums of $283 a month.”

    Examination of the detailed Pennsylvania plan, reveals that the “much more” will include insurance coverage of any legal abortion.

    The section on abortion (see page 14) asserts that “elective abortions are not covered.” However, that statement proves to be a red herring, because the operative language does not define “elective.” Rather, the proposal specifies that the coverage “includes only abortions and contraceptives that satisfy the requirements of” several specific statutes, the most pertinent of which is 18 Pa. C.S. § 3204, which says that an abortion is legal in Pennsylvania (consistent with Roe v. Wade) if a single physician believes that it is “necessary” based on “all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman.” Indeed, the cited statute provides only a single circumstance in which an abortion prior to 24 weeks is NOT permitted under the Pennsylvania statute: “No abortion which is sought solely because of the sex of the unborn child shall be deemed a necessary abortion.”

    As a result, “Under the Rendell-Sebelius plan, federal funds will subsidize coverage of abortion performed for any reason, except sex selection,” said NRLC’s Johnson. “The Pennsylvania proposal conspicuously lacks language that would prevent funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control or for any other reason, except sex selection — and the Obama Administration has now approved this.”

  • I disagree. I think the assumption should remain that abortion is being funded and that the Administration should be forced to affirmatively show that abortion is NOT being funded EVERY TIME one of these funding decisions is made.

    They are the ones who fought the inclusion of the Stupak language, and the burden of proof, therefore, remains with them on a case-by-case basis to show that federal funds are not being expended on abortion.

    I’m not worried about crying wolf because (a) because I don’t believe for one minute the Administration’s protestations that abortions aren’t being funded and (b) every time the Administration has to issue one of these denials it reinforces in the mind of the public that federal funding of abortion is taboo.

  • It seems from Donald’s link that abortions are being funded – and not just those allowed by the Hyde Amendment. Is what NRLC is reporting false?

  • The problem I have with HHS is that they don’t state where the prohibition occurs. The EO is useless in the face of the actual law. Which is why I’ve asked defenders to point out where in the federal law the funds are prohibited from funding abortions.

  • It looks like this is a case of crying wolf, and if it is, it discredits the pro-life movement. We can’t afford to look foolish. What scares me is that the administration’s defenders are replying that (a) no money will go to abortion, (b) it’s not much money anyway, and (c) the program will do a lot of good. I don’t see a reason to make the last two points, unless the arguments are being field-tested for future use.

  • At least some money will be going to fund abortionsw if it pays for abortions in cases of “rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.” Even though these are in the Hyde Amendment, they are contrary to Catholic moral teaching. They were put into the Hyde Amendment to ensure passage – an acceptable political move if complete prohibition would have stopped passage.

    The question here is, even using the Amendment, is there a net increase in the killing of babies even if only for these politically accepted reasons? If so then Obamacare does increase abortions.

    The next question is, if there is an increase in abortions, did the provision of health care to more individuals justify this increase in abortions?

  • July 14, 2010

    The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20201

    Dear Secretary Sebelius:

    We have recently learned that the Pennsylvania application to administer a federally subsidized Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (also referred to as a high-risk pool) for individuals with pre-existing conditions contains a provision that allows federal funding for abortion in virtually any case except sex-selective abortion. Similarly, we understand that a draft summary of benefits for New Mexico’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan explicitly lists elective abortion as a covered, and therefore subsidized, service.

    Both of these cases will result in funding for abortion in direct contradiction of longstanding U.S. policy against federal funding of abortion or abortion coverage. Unfortunately, statutory language prohibiting such funding was not included in the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Instead of a statutory prohibition, the President assured Members of Congress by signing an Executive Order that claimed to ensure that abortion would not be funded under the authorities and appropriations provided in PPACA. However, further details regarding how this assurance would be implemented and enforced have not been released.

    In light of the newly discovered information about the Pennsylvania and New Mexico Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans and the paramount importance of this issue, we would request the following information no later than close of business Friday, July 16, 2010.

    1. A list of all states and the District of Columbia that plan to administer federally funded high-risk pools at the state level, including the following for each:

    a. whether an application has been submitted,

    b. whether an application has been approved, and

    c. a copy of any application that has been either submitted or approved.

    2. According to the HHS website (, “HHS has contracted with the Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) to administer the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan” that will provide high-risk insurance to individuals in 21 states. Please provide a list of the states that have indicated they intend to opt into the GEHA program rather than establish their own state program, and a copy of the complete contract with GEHA including any language regarding abortion.

    We look forward to your prompt response.


    [Signed by John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Joe Barton, Darrell Issa, Chris Smith, and Joe Pitts]

  • The PA plan states it will not cover “elective abortions.” What abortions fit the requirements? According to 18 Pa. C.S. § 3204:

    “In determining in accordance with subsection (a) or (b) whether an abortion is necessary, a physician’s best clinical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman. No abortion which is sought solely because of the sex of the unborn child shall be deemed a necessary abortion.”

    Why did administration officials not ask that this be changed when the PA plan was approved? Did someone in the govt. just not read it? And if, according to state and Federal officials, Federal law will take priority, will they go back and change it?

  • Another update. Perhaps there is also problems with New Mexico’s plan and the Executive Order may not cover high-risk pools:

  • From Life News:

    “Meanwhile, Bakus claimed the state web sites containing information about the high risk pools, that provided the information NRLC used to verify the abortion funding, will be updated in the next couple of weeks to show they will not fund elective abortions.

    “If HHS does now issue new directives to keep abortion out of this particular program, it will be because NRLC blew the whistle on them,” Johnson said. “The Obama Administration shows a pattern of relentlessly pushing pro-abortion policies through the federal agencies and on Capitol Hill, whenever they think they can do so under the public radar — and then scurrying for cover when the spotlight comes on.”

    That both states reported they would cover elective abortions is not a dispute, although both appear to be backtracking after Right to Life uncovered the abortion funding.

    The Associated Press reported Wednesday that New Mexico “initially listed elective abortion as a covered benefit” but then “reversed course” after AP inquired about the coverage NRLC discovered.

    Michelle Lujan Grisham, deputy director of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool, told AP that the state’s contract with HHS stipulated the plan must follow federal law but did not spell out details on limits to abortion coverage.

    “As a result, New Mexico included elective abortion as a covered benefit, following what it was already doing with its own state health programs,” AP indicated.

    NRLC identified how the Internet site describing the New Mexico plan listed “elective termination of pregnancy” as a covered benefit and noting how it would pay for 80 percent of the cost of the abortion after the insured woman met the $500 deductible.

    Grisham initially told AP the state would follow through on that plan but then called the news outlet back later Wednesday saying otherwise: “We are in the process of correcting the package so it will not have elective abortion coverage.”

    Pennsylvania officials are backtracing as well, with Rosanne Placey, a spokeswoman for the state insurance department, telling AP the high risk pool will now not cover elective abortions: “That is not part of the benefit package.”

    Backus also said the Obama administration would ensure any abortion coverage under the new national health care program would be limited to cases when the mother’s life is in danger or rape and incest — which the Hyde Amendment limits funding of abortions to regarding other funding from the federal government, but which does not apply to the new health care law.

    Johnson ultimately told “I can and have been asked, can the Administration be trusted? Sure, they can be trusted — to try to expand federal support for abortion every sneaky chance they get.”

    “Everybody needs to constantly watch what people in this Administration are doing, not what they are saying,” he concluded.”

  • Pingback: Rampant Dishonesty Continues « Vox Nova
  • Who are these people suddenly worried about “crying wolf” and being labelled as “crying wolf”? The bishops along with every other group concerned about murder said abortion was covered under this law. Independent news reports verify that until yesterday when prolifers made a cry (of wolf (Ha Ha)) abortion was on the website as covered.

    “But at least one state — New Mexico — initially listed elective abortion as a covered benefit, reversing course after The Associated Press inquired on Wednesday.”

    These WOLVES need to worry about their credibility before GOD and what eternal damnation feels like not to mention what an aborted baby feels–and her mom and dad when they wake up to what they did–and stop throwing up RED HERRINGS. Whose paying you–CHA?

  • It seems on one of the threads over at Vox Nova they have stopped anyone commenting on how the Hyde Amendment results in more abortions under Health Care Reform. No refutaion of the argument, just prohibting comments on it. Now it couldn’t be because people are right?

  • Rampant Dishonesty Continues « Vox Nova says:
    Thursday, July 15, 2010 A.D. at 12:06 pm

    Somebody please read our blog. Somebody. Please. Hello?

  • For programs such as Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs that are jointly funded by the states and federal government, each state has to draw up a set of rules that specify who is covered, for what procedures/treatments and under what conditions. These rules are called “State Plans.”

    All State Plans, and any significant changes made to a State Plan, must be approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is a division of HHS. As long as a State Plan doesn’t directly conflict with federal law, it is usually approved, so states do have some discretion.

    State Plan amendments also normally have to go through a period of review and public comment at the state level — this varies depending on each state’s administrative law — before they can be adopted as well.

    Apparently, these federally subsidized high risk insurance pools MAY operate in a similar manner. If that is the case, when each state draws up its plan, it will be done in the form of rules promulgated by the agency that administers the plan in each state. In most states, that includes some kind of public comment period, and if they know they are going to get a lot of negative public comment, they can usually be persuaded to backtrack on those rules.

  • Read this op-ed by Helen Alvare, one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I know –

  • Just an update. It seems NPR believes that neither the health care law nor the Executive Order prohibits abortion funding for high risk pools. Also seems, per NPR, that New Mexico was already using Federal funds for elective abortions in their high risk pool.

Where's Stupak?

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Hattiip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Representative Joe Pitts (R. Pa) has introduced a new bill that bans abortion funding from ObamaCare.  It largely replicates the language of the old Stupak Amendment.  The bill has 57 co-sponsors and growing.  Thus far these real pro-life Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors:  Reps. Travis Childers of Mississippi, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Marshall of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Gene Taylor of Mississippi.  I salute each of them.  Each of them voted against the final pro-abort version of ObamaCare.  Bart Stupak and his “pro-life” Democrats who hid behind the fig leaf of the meaningless executive order in order to vote for ObamaCare, are of course not supporting this legislation.  I think this is significant.  ObamaCare passed.  From the perspective of a truly pro-life Democrat who supported ObamaCare, why not amend the law now to ban abortion funding?  Failure to support this legislation should finish the idea that such a Democrat  in Congress is in any sense pro-life.  This legislation should of course be a major voting issue for all pro-lifers in November

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6 Responses to Where's Stupak?

  • Don’t hold your breath on this one, Don.

  • Agreed Jay! 🙂

  • What concerns me is the total lack of concern by the USCCB bishops regarding all the other anti-Catholic (subsidiarity etc.)trash wrapped up in Obamacare.

    If I didn’t know better…

    And why was it that one of the three official bishops who finally (only after their joining Stupak allowed it to leave committee with an apparent imprimature) ended up opposing the bill was titled the “migrant” bishop? I thought it was about abortion not border issues? But then the Catechchism tells us that the laity is to decide upon immigration questions. And then there’s the silence about the death panels – the theft of (1/2 trillion) money for the health and care of the medicare class. I’ll never understand why the state (Caesar) is the first choice of these religion trained people. I also failed to hear a large USCCB protest when Obama suggested taking the tax benifit away from private charity economically forcing charity to become controlled by (Caesar)government’s business. Didn’t they ever hear John Paul’s admonition to be wary of the welfare state?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the construct and motives of this group. Millions of dollars in street money collected for the poor given by them to ACORN to help elect the most aggressively pro-abortion/infanticide president in history needs a serious investigation -not just an “oopps -sorry.” That didn’t work with the priest coverup and wont with the politics. And then there’s Notre Dame -the moral/political scandal of the decade?

  • Not that I have time, during lunch, to decrypt that mess…
    I’ll presume that someone who reads for a living has read it and thinks it would at least limit federal funding on abortions and provide abortion-free options for Catholics.
    That said, let’s return to the “myth” of the pro-life Democrat.

    If you have a couple of million in your bank account and heart, swelled with civic duty, perhpas you might think Congress or the Senate, or your state versions are the place yu can “do the most good.” So far, so-so.
    If you have swallowed whole the notion that Jesus will be mollified, during the promised Matthew 25 test at the conclusion of this life, by your demonstrated williingness to reach into the pockets of others to fund the many do-gooder programs that come up for a vote during your tenure; thereby sacrificing subsidiarity and free will on the altar of ever-dubious government largesse. If this is you, you obviously opt to run as a Democrat, albeit a conscientious “pro-life Democrat, and caucus with your party of choice- in order to do the most good with OPM.
    So, by the very fact that you win, go to DC, caucus with your fellow travelers, you help insure that it will be they who control the committees, they who elect the speaker of the house, they who set the table for the legislative agenda that will cause acts to land on the desk of the POTUS- and they who orchestrate any attempts to override irresponsible vetos by the Abortionist-in-Chief.
    So how was it you were going to do good without materially contributing to the expansion or continuance of the evil of taxpayer funded abortion (not just here- remember Mexico City)?

  • Call me crazy, but I would rather Rep. Joe Pitts walk up to these men and women and seriously engage them and try to win their votes.

    What’s more important? Verbal condemnation or their votes and not funding abortions? I’m not suggesting writing things off as if there is not an issue at all. But I think the order of business puts stopping abortion funding first and I happen to think some of the Democrats who voted for the bill would vote for this legislation if it hit the floor. Granted that they voted for the health care bill, I don’t think they are now pro-choice extremists no different than Pelosi.

    But in another sense — this legislation is dead until at least next January. I could see it (by a stretch of the imagination) passing in the House if it made it out of committee somehow and failing in the Senate.

  • Eric, I would love it if Stupak and some of the other Democrats who voted for ObamaCare would sign on to the bill. As Jay indicated above however, I am definitely not holding my breath.

Can Catholics Abstain From ObamaCare

Thursday, March 25, AD 2010

I came across this American Thinker article on the exclusion of Amish and Muslims from ObamaCare:

The Senate health care bill just signed contains some exemptions to the “pay-or-play” mandate requiring purchase of Obamacare-approved health insurance or payment of a penalty fine. As Fox News has pointed out, for instance, the Amish are excused from the mandate:

So while most Americans would be required to sign up with insurance companies or government insurance plans, the church would serve as something of an informal insurance plan for the Amish.

Law experts say that kind of exemption withstands scrutiny.

“Here the statute is going to say that people who are conscientiously opposed to paying for health insurance don’t have to do it where the conscientious objection arises from religion,” said Mark Tushnet a Harvard law professor. “And that’s perfectly constitutional.”

Apparently, this exemption will apply similarly to believers in Islam, which considers health insurance – and, for that matter, any form of risk insurance – to be haraam (forbidden).

Steve Gilbert of Sweetness & Light calls our attention to the probability that Muslims will also be expempt. According to a March 23 publication on an authoritative Islamic Web site managed by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, various fatwas (religious decrees) absolutely forbid Muslim participation in any sort of health care or other risk insurance:

Health insurance is haraam like other types of commercial insurance, because it is based on ambiguity, gambling and riba (usury). This is what is stated in fatwas by the senior scholars.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (15/277) there is a quotation of a statement of the Council of Senior Scholars concerning the prohibition on insurance and why it is haraam:

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (15/251):

Firstly: Commercial insurance of all types is haraam because it involves ambiguity, riba, uncertainty, gambling and consuming people’s wealth unlawfully, and other shar’i

Secondly: It is not permissible for the Muslim to get involved with insurance companies by working in administration or otherwise, because working in them comes under the heading of cooperating in sin and transgression, and Allaah forbids that as He says: “but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”

[al-Maa’idah 5:2]. End quote.

And Allaah knows best.

So, it turns out that observant Muslims are not only strictly forbidden from buying any health insurance under the ObamaCare mandate, but may also not even work for any company that provides such insurance or any other form of commercial insurance.


Being an observant Catholic I don’t have to participate because it goes against my faith to kill unborn innocent children?

The 5th, 7th, and 10th Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) forbids me from participating.

5th Commandment & CCC 2268-2269: You shall not kill. (ObamaCare kills unborn babies)[1]

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23 Responses to Can Catholics Abstain From ObamaCare

  • The bill requires that at least one plan on the exchange not cover abortion, so I don’t think this is an issue.

  • The Church also teaches about double effect and remote material cooperation with evil. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to pay taxes for nukes because Jesus said, Give to Caesar what is Caesars. Perhaps there is some common ground in the making here! 🙂

  • I’m willing to allow an out on my tax filings for both nukes and ObamaCare.

    Is this possible in the U.S.?

  • Abstain from it Tito? I want to kill it!

  • I’m with Donald.

    Though being proactive and searching for many possible alternatives to further mitigate ObamaCare is what I’m after as well.

  • Does your insurance at work cover abortion or contraception? If so, should you opt out and pay for a private plan that excludes these?

  • JohnH,

    I plan to once I get a permanent full time job.

    Contract work at the moment.

  • Good on you, Tito.

  • I’d be a little leery of saying Muslims are forbidden to participate on the basis of Sheik Sumduud’s website, or even a fatwa. Fatwas are pretty easy to come by, actually, and have about as much force as the individual Muslim wants to accord it. To use a (very, very) rough analogy, they are like a trial court’s ruling, binding to varying extents on the parties involved, but lacking precedential force.

    More to the point, Muslims have worked out ways to get around prohibitions like this before (e.g., murabaha, which manages to do a fine job of mimicking interest via a client paying a financial institution an agreed upon marked-up price for a commodity).

  • Eliminating “nukes” in paying one’s taxes: would this include nuclear power plants? Labs which study detection of atomic weapons? etc etc

  • Catholics should get involved in a campaign to sign pro-lifers (and others) up with plans that don’t cover abortion. Hopefully, abortion coverage will die from lack of demand.

  • RR, that is really an excellent suggestion, and I can imagine it’s also one that would be quite easy for us to do as individuals, as well as collectively. Even for my moderately pro-choice friends (esp. the males), I think they would probably agree to purchase insurance that excludes abortion coverage.

    This seems worthy of really looking into and organizing as a pro-life goal.

  • “Catholics should get involved in a campaign to sign pro-lifers (and others) up with plans that don’t cover abortion. Hopefully, abortion coverage will die from lack of demand.”

    Considering the number of abortions we have in this country I think that hope is both futile and farfetched.

  • Pingback: Health Care Exemptions? « A Voice into the Void
  • The concern I have is that in order to get a general religious exemption from Obamacare for Catholics, wouldn’t we have to prove that abstaining from absolutely all participation in abortion, no matter how remote, was an integral and non-negotiable part of Church teaching, and that ALL Catholics were bound under pain of mortal sin or excommunication to abide by it (like the teaching against participating directly in abortion itself)?

    However, that is not true — remote material cooperation such as would occur in the case of paying taxes under Obamacare or participating in an insurance program that covered abortion is permitted for sufficient reasons, for example, if it would be extremely difficult or impossible to find another insurance plan. A Catholic CAN refuse to participate in such a plan on moral grounds, but he or she is not necessarily obligated to take such action.

    As for Muslims, I have heard that many Muslims do not believe in borrowing money and so they pay cash for everything, but how on earth do so many of them manage to run businesses (shops, etc.) without insurance? What happens if the shop burns down, or a pipe freezes, etc.? How do they legally drive cars if they can’t have car insurance? If Muslims really are forbidden to have insurance, it must be a teaching many Muslims either don’t know about or ignore, kind of like Catholic teaching against contraception.

  • Donald, I don’t think it’s futile or far-fetched to think plans that cover abortion can become unpopular, not just among pro-lifers but anyone who doesn’t think they need abortion coverage.

  • Ooops, my first sentence should have read “wouldn’t we have to prove that abstaining from all COOPERATION in abortion, no matter how remote…”

  • restrainedradical, don’t get me wrong. If people wish to persuade others not to get insurance that covers abortion, I am all for it. However, considering the sheer number of abortions, I don’t think this strategy will have much of an impact in reducing the total number of abortions. However, I would be delighted if I were proven to be in error.

  • So the Stupak Amendment wouldn’t have had much of an impact on the number of abortions? Maybe.

  • I don’t know how many abortions the Stupak amendment would have stopped. I know it would have stopped any of my tax money paying for abortions which is extremely important to me. Too bad Stupak folded like the weasel he apparently is.

  • Donald-
    I was really hoping the pro-life dems would actually come through.

    When I heard the news say they agreed to vote for it in exchange for Obama signing something that “clarified” federal funding of abortion… sounds like a setup for a bad, bad literal genie moment.

  • I have long had hopes for the pro-life Democrat movement Foxfier. More fool me. A handful of pro-life Dems stuck to their guns, but most proved that their pro-life stance was, at best, conditional to the needs of their party. These remarks are of course only aimed at pro-life Dem Congress Critters and not at rank and file pro-life Dems.

  • Are believers in Christian Science exempt?

Far Better Than Nothing

Tuesday, March 23, AD 2010

While pro-lifers, conservatives, and conservative pro-lifers all have different reasons for not being very pleased with Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats at the moment, because of their caving in to the Senate Bill abortion language and Obama’s vaporware executive order, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that if all Democrats were of the Obama/Pelosi persuasion in regards to abortion, we would undoubtedly have a “health care reform” bill which provided complete subsidies for abortion on demand for poor women, if not all women. The Senate language is not nearly as good as Stupak’s, and even with Stupak’s language included I think that the bill would have been deeply irresponsible for financial reasons. But let’s face it, the Democrats have a solid majority in the House and had until Brown’s election a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Without some Democrats breaking ranks with their party’s hard core pro-abortion platform, there would have been no way for the pro-life movement to keep the most extreme support for abortion possible out of the bill.

And while Stupak’s last minute flake-out is disappointing from a pro-life perspective (if he’d stuck to his guns, I would have happily donated to his re-election fund, simple because I admire steadfastness to pro-life principle, even in someone I disagree with on other issues) let’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language. So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.

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24 Responses to Far Better Than Nothing

  • I never confused Stupak with a conservative. I did confuse Stupak with a pro-lifer. My mistake. I also confused him with a truthful man. Once again my mistake. The fact that his cave in led to ObamaCare becoming a law I regard as a national disaster. That Stupak revealed himself as a man of no principle I regard as a tragedy. He was a hero to pro-lifers everywhere and he revealed himself at the end to be anything but.

  • Darwin, I applaud your charitable attitude and posting, and I agree with it, for the most part, even from the depths of my disappointment. What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening. I genuinely believe that he lost it temporarily, on an emotional and psychological level, when he declared that the Democrats were the pro-life party protecting life from unborn till death. That speech was so contrary to reality in its claims that I can’t imagine he’ll look on that speech in the future with anything but deep shame and guilt.

  • “What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening.”

    Ditto, Kevin. What a disgraceful display that was. He was doing a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over freshly-opened wounds. It was despicable.

  • I wrote a (small) check to Stupak’s Republican challenger, Dan Benishek, on Sunday night. Benishek is a UP surgeon who seems a decent man – a pro-life conservative, the son of a miner. But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.

    Speaking of horse’s patoots, our elected reps are now debating this:

    Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.

  • I wish the other side in this debate could come up with statements as thoughtful and charitable as this one. The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed–for many reasons, some better than others. Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing. It’s interesting too to see what he thinks government should NOT be doing: in that under-the-radar vote on the war in Afghanistan a few days ago, Stupak voted against the war.

  • “But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.”

    Brilliant Donna!

  • How badly were we gamed by this man? (And I say “we” because I too was under the impression that Stupak was a man of integrity, although I was against the healthcare bill for other reasons besides abortion.)

    “Stupak Defends District’s Planned Parenthood Clinics”

    PICKET: Then how come you didn’t vote for Pence’s amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood back in 2009?

    STUPAK: I don’t think I ever voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does not do abortions…in my district. Planned Parenthood has a number of clinics in my district that provide health care for my people. Therefore, these clinics do quite well in my district, and I’m all for health care and extending it to everybody–access to health care, so that’s just another way. Also on Planned Parenthood , when they do it, there is a segregation of funds that go with it. It’s usually about four hundred million they tried to de-fund on Planned Parenthood. Maybe this time, I’ll look at it again if Pence brings it up. Maybe I’ll vote differently this time, but you’re right I did vote against it.

    Stupak also says, in practically the same breath:

    I’ve done all I could as one member to protect the sanctity of life

  • You know what, I’m sick of these defenses of Backstabbing Bart.

    Ron, I’m not going off on you personally – I like a lot of your comments on issues – but you’ve raised a couple of points here that I’ve seen OTHER people I typically like and respect bring up in Stupid’s defense as well.

    “The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed”

    I suppose it could be the case that there are people who were in denial about the whole thing. But most people I know who supported the Stupak language did so for one or both of these reasons:

    1) If Obamacare was determined to become law, AT LEAST the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment would stay in place. Stupak’s precious EO offers no such guarantees, and his speech during the debate following the vote was delusional.

    2) If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill. That’s why I supported it. And I see no reason to be ashamed of it. There’s nothing wrong with that motive.

    “Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing.”

    But he also told us all that he wouldn’t vote for a bill that allowed public funding of abortion. And yet he did. So either he’s monumentally stupid for putting enough faith in this EO nonsense to change his vote – and we have a right to be angry with him for that alone – or he knew full well that this EO promise was weak, but it gave him just enough so that he could vote yes, to take the pressure off, to not be hated by everyone in his own party, or whatever.

    Stupak portrayed himself as a leader, as a fighter, as a man of principle. At the last hour he caved for a handful of magic beans that offers no guarantee of the things that he was so intransigent about for all these months.

    Stupidity or weakness, take your pick, either way, he deserves our contempt.

  • “Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.”


    I understand the Parliamentary tactic they are playing, but I have to wonder why Viagra or any similar prescription drug is covered by a health plan. Why would the cost of a recreational drug be paid by a health care plan. If Viagra isn’t a recreational drug nothing is. This thought struck me as odd a few years ago when I heard on CNBC (IIRC) that GM was the single largest purchaser of Viagra because of their retiree health care plan. What??? Up until that moment I naively believed people spent their own money on crap like that.

    That is the sad punch line to this horrendous health care “reform” bill. Some people actually believe it will not exceed the cost estimates without considering how much health care can be consumed once it is “free.” How many people will sign up for Viagra or a hundred other medical treatments that they would not if personally paying for it themselves.

  • Largebill: exactly. But that’s government and the entitlement mentality for you. Contrary to leftist belief, no conservative I know argues that the present system needs no reforming or that uninsured people should be left to die in the street.

    But this changes everything and drags the government into everything touching on healthcare issues. It’s one thing to help pay for people who, say, have lost coverage because they were laid off and have serious health conditions. But paying for somebody’s Viagra? Someone who sees Viagra as an entitlement? They’ve got to be joking – except they’re not.

    (Not to mention the disgust I feel at having to foot the bill for somebody’s abortion…)

  • I think you guys are getting a little off track here. I’m no fan of this bill, and I get the idea that’s setting you off about the Viagra, but I think it’s wrong headed. I’m sure some people use Viagra to enable themselves to do things they shouldn’t be doing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a drug that should be covered by insurance. We’re Catholics, not Puritans or Stoics. As Catholics we view intimacy between spouses as a great good, even a necessary condition for their marriage and their souls. If someone’s plumbing stops working, that is a medical issue, and thankfully something has been developed that can help people get around the condition. There’s absolutely no reason to object to the use of such medicine or that it would be covered by medical insurance.

    Oh, and lest you think this says something about my condition – my plumbing still works fine, thank you. 😉 Still, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future to any of us, and a drug like can help marriages stay strong and that keeps families together, and even saves souls.

  • If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill.

    I’m not sure this is plausible. After all, the original House bill passed despite having the Stupak language in it.

  • “[L]et’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language.”

    Huh? I’m shocked.

    So what does it matter if we’d all be disappointed anyway? Is that the sum of it?

    Evidently the intrinsically evil nature of abortion escapes you. Please let me clarify. Children born into a bankrupt dictatorship (worst case scenarios, both, for fiscal responsibility and statism) are still born. They have the chance to live and breathe and giggle and laugh and clap their hands.

    Children killed by an state funded abortion don’t enjoy any of that. They’re dead before they could draw their first breath of air, before they could look upon their mother and father, before they could so much as eat and sigh and sleep.

    I would much, much, much rather I lived in a country that financially impoverished itself with a crazy healthcare bill (i.e. giving viagra to criminals) than one that morally bankrupted itself by using my taxes to kill babies.

    Further — you write ‘So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.’

    ‘[H]ope?’ Yeah, right. Sorry, but you have to swallow a whole lot to not recognize that he held out so as to sell his vote more dearly. That or he just doesn’t comprehend the nature of abortion, the nature of evil.

    Please let me translate your equivalence into practical terms — well, the bill is just going to pass anyway (i.e. they’ll kill the babies anyway), so I might as well vote for it (participate in an intrinsically evil act) (and condemn my soul to hell for all of eternity).

    Do you see what you’ve written? Do you understand my perspective?

  • BA,

    It is what they pledged to do after the first time it passed.

    And they were threatening to do it all the way up until the day of the vote.

    I don’t know why they settled for it the first time around, but evidently they changed their minds.

    I read reports of some pro-abort female House Dems breaking down into tears after the first vote because of Stupak.

  • Joe,

    They settled for it the first time around because they very openly expected that after the Senate passed its version, that provision would be stripped out of the final bill in conference.

    Brown taking Kennedy’s Senate seat derailed those plans.

  • Joe,

    Talk is cheap. Stupak was also pledging to vote against the bill if he didn’t get his way until the day before the vote.

  • Joe,

    But here’s the thing, while many of us who opposed the bill in its entirity (while also wanting to have it be as anti-abortion as possible if we had to swallow the bitter bill at all) Stupak clearly thought the bill itself was a good thing so long as it didn’t fund abortion.

    I’m guessing that this massively pissed Stupak off, and was one of his prime motivating factors in that bitter floor speech.

    I disagree with him and think he’s wrong in seeing those of us on the conservative side of the pro-life movement as the bad guys in this. But I can see why he was becoming increasingly angry with his position — feeling like he was being used by people who opposed the bill regardless.

  • I think you’re right Darwin. I also think part of the problem is that we thought Stupak was standing for something more than what he was standing for. We thought he was for this bill other than the abortion issue – and not without reason – by his own words we had it that as much as he wanted HCR passed, abortion was a non-starter and the Senate bill didn’t pass the test, plus the Senate bill was bad legislation and the means by which it came was unacceptible.

    He generated a lot of goodwill from pro-lifers from most political persuasions and they admired his principled stand. In hindsight, we discovered he was indeed fighting to get abortion provisions out of the legislation, but it wasn’t that important to him where he wouldn’t still vote for it. Many of his supporters feel betrayed by him and he feels betrayed by his supporters. It’s actually quite understandable. I think he’s wrong to have done a 180 the Senate bill, or to think the EO satisfies any concerns, or to think that abortion shouldn’t be a deal breaker for Obamacare, but his equation is different. Aside from those understandable differences, his speech at the time of the vote and subsequent comments take it to a different level. A level where it’s difficult to respect him in spite of those differences and reveal a rather bitter partisan bordering on the delusional.

  • Stupak led the most successful pro-life insurgency within the Democratic Party in recent memory. Nobody expected his amendment to pass with the support it did, and pro-choice organizations reacted with horror that a new front was opening within their stronghold.

    His amendment was dead in the Senate though. His insurgency failed.

    A man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    But he extracted a concession from the President, which can help hold Obamacare accountable. He also helped his party by allowing Pelosi to give vulnerable Democrats the chance to vote “no.” (She likely had enough votes in reserve, but because of the pro-life Dems she didn’t have to use them.)

    Here’s some comments from the end of Stupak’s Sunday press conference that have been under-reported:

    “…the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    In my view, Stupak cut his losses while raising the profile of pro-life Democrats and getting Obama to commit to something. He can be held accountable too.

    The speed with which many pro-lifers turned on him is disturbing to me. If there were more Democrats like him, he would have won. But he lost, and so he tried to lose in a manner most advantageous to his cause and to his career. I think he deserves gratitude for that failed attempt, and criticism of him has gone overboard. The Senate and those who excluded the Stupak Amendment from the Senate bill bear far more blame, as do the Catholic groups whose misinformation sapped his coalition’s strength at a critical time.

    If the GOP’s incompetence and the Hispanicization of America have barred Republicans from Congressional majorities for the foreseeable future, Stupak & co. are the best hope for the pro-life cause in Congress. Don’t punish a man who stood up for months against his party leadership and activists. Punish the leadership and the activists, so that that man won’t have to surrender again in the future.

  • BA,

    Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with. They had to please their own first, and then try to rope in Stupak. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did, because of the weakness of one man.


    Frankly, I don’t give a damn about his feelings. This bill will fund abortion, and I maintain that he was either a fool or a coward for accepting the empty promises of an EO from Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history.

  • Though to be fair, all this really does is reduce Stupak to the level of an average politician, whereas before, we had reason to believe he was at least trying to be a decent human being.

  • Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with.

    They cooked up the EO nonsense to get Stupak’s vote, not the votes of pro-choicers, who they already had.

  • There were 23 Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment and voted against the Senate “reconciliation” bill on Sunday. 23, out of 253. 9%.

    175 out of 177 Republicans voted for the Stupak Amendment and against the reconciliation bill. That’s 99%.

    Remember those percentages the next time someone tells you that the GOP isn’t really pro-life, that Scott Brown and Rudy Giuliani prove that the Republicans are secretly pro-abortion, that the Democratic Party is moderate on life issues, that there’s really no difference between the parties at all.

  • BA,

    The EO was all they had left to offer Stupak once they satisfied the pro-choicers.

    Though I don’t have the link saved (darn it), Pelosi was going to allow another vote on the Stupak amendment until the radical pro-choice Dems threatened to vote no if it passed – which, like the first time around, it would have. This was in the news. I remember reading it and thinking that it would be great.

    But after the radical pro-abort Dems renewed their threat, Pelosi et. al. had to deny Stupak another vote. But they still needed his vote on the bill – hence the EO. Garbage!