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 (http://www.hhs.gov/ociio/initiative/), “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.

    Sincerely,

    [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:

    http://lifenews.com/nat6540.html

  • 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 LifeNews.com: “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.”

    http://lifenews.com/nat6540.html

  • 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.”

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700048295/More-questions-on-health-plan-abortion.html?s_cid=rss-5

    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?

    http://vox-nova.com/2010/07/15/rampant-dishonesty-continues/#comments

  • 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 – http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/07/1423

  • 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.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/07/15/128546416/abortion-supporters-now-blast-adminstration-over-health-law

Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

Sunday, March 21, AD 2010
    US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:

    We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

    “One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

    Richard Doerflinger
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • In deal with Stupak, White House announces executive order on abortion (Washington Post):

    Resolving an impasse with anti-abortion Democrats over the health-care reform legislation, President Obama announced Sunday that he will be issuing an executive order after the bill is passed “that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” according to a statement from the White House.

    “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said at a news conference announcing the deal.

  • “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat” – Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).

Further analysis of the text of the order:

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56 Responses to Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

  • Lopez is correct.

  • Stupak is either an idiot which I doubt or completely mendacious which I suspect is closer to the case. In any event, he has destroyed his credibility as a pro-lifer.

  • It’s all so tragic I can only laugh.

    Something big in this country is on the horizon, and its not going to be good for anyone with a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to their name. There is a horrendous reality that this country will be drastically and negatively different by 2020.

  • What a disappointment he turned out to be. I really admired his courage and conviction.

    That he would trade away his convictions for this handful of magic beans is really just depressing.

    Time to get started on nullification.

  • The Susan B. Anthony List on this fake deal:

    “An executive order on abortion funding would do nothing to fix the problems presented by the current health care reform legislation that the House is considering today. The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress. An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President’s whim. The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders.

    “If this was a sincere attempt to meet pro-life concerns then you would hear the cry of pro-choice Members and groups. Rather Rep. Diana Degette, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus told The Huffington Post on Saturday that ‘If there was an executive order saying they weren’t going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me, because we’ve stipulated to that even though we don’t like it, That’s the compromise we came to way back in July.’

    “In the end, no pro-life Member of Congress could, in good conscience, play politics with the lives of hundreds of unborn children. If they do, there will be a quick downhill slide to defeat on Election Day.”

  • Linda Goldthorpe is Stupak’s likely opponent in the Fall. Assuming she wins the primary I’ll be sending her a hundred bucks.

    http://www.lindaforcongress.com/issues/right-to-life

  • I agree with Donald, the concept/idea of a pro-life Democrat is gone. Finished.

    Stupak got his bag of silver.

  • Tito,
    Just figuring that out now, huh?

  • Stupak said the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7. If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.

  • Daledog,

    Someone as dense as I am figure things out eventually.

    I am still much a like a child, I believe a man’s word at face value.

    I’d make a terrible politician.

  • RR,

    For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

    –Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:26

  • “If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.”

    Nothing is rarely a good deal for the recipient restrainedradical and the is what Stupak got. An Executive Order cannot contradict a law passed by Congress. If Stupak believes that he got anything from this charade other than the lasting enmity of the vast majority of all pro-lifers, than he is an utter fool, which I doubt.

  • To be fair — elected officials are hardly ever as strident, passionate, and committed to any issue as are those fighting in the trenches. That said, there is very few members of Congress who are as pro-life as non-elected pro-life Americans. Given the fact that someone fails to live up to their own principles and standards, that is a moral failing, but that hardly negates the validity of their political philosophy.

    In fact, for the number of pro-life Democrats in this country and the two I’ve talked to in the last hour troubled by the latest news hardly means in my view that being a pro-life Democrat is now an oxymoron. If it is, then I am an oxymoron and I am a counter-cultural warrior — to hell with the status quo.

  • K-Lo says:
    “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat”

    There seems to be a never-ending shortage of dopey Catholics who will fall for the next pro-life democrat. Republicans are icky and mean, you see.

  • Seriously, there are still pro-life Democrats voting against the legislation and are not convinced of the current strategy that Stupak and a few other Democrats have co-signed themselves onto.

    I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

  • Christopher, let us look at the discussion on executive decisions a bit:

    Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year.

    So, let’s see, Hyde was seen as good enough in a previous time, when the question of “Hyde could be over-ruled and rejected in the future” remained. In other words, we see here an argument can be built upon acceptance of Hyde itself — it has been used to justify all kinds of things under Bush’s rule, for example. Hyde was protecting everything, so Bush’s budgets didn’t get such a serious questioning — even when he gave an increase of funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. So, it seems that Hyde was good enough for many of the voices now speaking out against it’s application now. Seems clear that something is wrong here.

    Now, let us look further. We will begin to see it is an issue of advice given to the bishops. There is no charism given to bishops in selecting the best advisers nor any given to the advisers as to what is best (look to the child abuse scandal for proof of this). The fact that we are being told they reject such a move is from advisers indicates the kind of authority by which this decision is made: it is one which is open to debate and question and disagreement. Hence we read:

    The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence.

    So it is not a top-down proof that executive decisions are not appropriate. Indeed, without giving full details about who all these advisers are and what they all have said and why they said what they said, we are going on a very low level of teaching authority based upon an interpretation of matters outside of competence of bishops.

    —-

    “When the hierarchy is faced by a conflict of opinions in the church, it does not always succeed in achieving a perfectly adequate response. Broadly speaking, two kinds of mistake are possible – excessive permissiveness and excessive rigidity. It is hard to know which of the two errors has done more harm.”

    “We must recognize, therefore, that there can be such a thing in the church as mutable or reformable teaching. The element of mutability comes from the fact that such teaching seeks to mediate between the abiding truth of the gospel and the socio-cultural situation at a given time and place.”

    “Did Vatican II teach the legitimacy of dissent from non-infallible teaching? It did so implicitly by its action, we may say, but not explicitly by its words. The theological commission responsible for paragraph 25 of the Constitution of the Church refused to make any statement, one way or the other, about dissent.”

    “A step beyond the council was taken by the German bishops in a pastoral letter of September 22, 1967, which has been quoted on several occasions by Karl Rahner. This letter recognized that in its effort to apply the gospel to the changing situations of life, the church is obliged to give instructions that have a certain provisionality about them. These instructions, though binding to a certain degree, are subject to error. According to the bishops, dissent may be legitimate provided that three conditions are observed. (1) One must have striven seriously to attach positive value to the teaching in question and to appropriate it personally. (2) One must seriously ponder whether one has the theological expertise to disagree responsibly with ecclesiastical authority. (3) One must examine one’s conscience for possible conceit, presumptuousness, or selfishness. Similar principles for conscientious dissent had already been laid down by John Henry Newman in the splendid chapter on Conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1874).”

    “There is always a temptation for church authorities to try to use their power to stamp out dissent. The effort is rarely successful, because dissent simply seeks another forum, where it may become even more virulent. To the extent that the suppression is successful, it may also do harm. It inhibits good theology from performing its critical task, and it is detrimental to the atmosphere of freedom in the church. The acceptance of true doctrine should not be a matter of blind conformity, as though truth could be imposed by decree. The church, as a society that respects the freedom of the human conscience, must avoid procedures that savor of intellectual tyranny.

    Where dissent is kept within the bounds I have indicated, it is not fatal to the church as a community of faith and witness. If it does occur, it will be limited, reluctant, and respectful.”

    Avery Dulles http://www.vatican2voice.org/8conscience/dulles.htm

  • K-Lo talking about being pro-life: hilarious.

  • Karlson taking about being pro-life: barf worthy.

  • If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.

  • “If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.”

    Appearing to be an utter fool restrainedradical saves no any face. By definition any one trusting in this exectutive order from the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history is an utter fool.

  • Seems to me that if the bill had enough votes w/out the Stupak 7, then no executive order would have been proffered.

  • I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

    They can catch the heat for what they did not do to repair the financial system while they were needlessly chuffering about medical insurance and what they did do to make our public finances resemble those of Greece.

  • I wonder if the U.S. bishops should be held partially responsible for the passage of this bill? They did lobby VERY hard to get it to this point, not knowing if they would get the wording they wanted.

  • Tito,
    They ought to be held responsible. These fools have been playing footsie with liberal politics for much too long. One day is too long as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that their plate is full with their own problems.

  • No Tito, the bishops lobbied for something to address the medical needs of those who can ill afford proper care. That is a legitimate concern and there are many ways to work toward it. The problem is that what the current congress and president offers as a solution. A solution that many believe will cause more harm than good, plus has all the unpleasantness of what that party stands for like considering the killing of the unborn to be health care. It’s not really within the competence of the bishops to speak to whether any given policy is unworkable or will bust the nation economically, but they’re well within their competence to discuss the morality of certain policies – to define what they are lobbying for when they say appropriate health care for all (they’re including the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm).

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

  • Oh stop hiding behind the poor.

    This monstrous bill will ensure that many thousands of poor children would would have otherwise been born because their mother’s can’t afford abortions will now be sliced and diced in the womb. It’s poor children that suffer the most from government funded abortion.

  • Restrained,
    How silly. You care about the poor, huh? Give more. Work extra hours so that you can give more. Encourage others to give more. No need to lobby Caesar. Gifts from Caesar always have strings attached. Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

  • I think the bishops should be held somewhat responsible.

    Let’s see if they work equally as hard to get this “law” revoked.

    I doubt that resolve will be as diligent.

  • Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period. You maybe can be a Republican. It’s bets however to be a member of the Constitution Part because their platform is closest to the teaching of Holy Mother Church though they won’t be USCCB approved because they don’t believe in all this social justice, common good nonsense and free health care for illegal immigrants. Personal responsibility goes with person liberty and that’s a lesson lost on most Catholics for the past 50 years. Pelosi, Biden, Leahy and all the rest of the Catholic apostates will continue to receive Holy Communion and nothing the USCCB says or does means a damn.

    Every single liberal politician has got to be publicly excommunicated and the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price has got to be jettisoned. Until that happens, the Church in America is a worthless collection of dirty old gay men at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 playing at religion.

  • You guys simply don’t like the truth. Moderate away. God will have to sweep the liberals aside in His wrath. That’s the only way you’ll learn. The only way.

  • The Executive Order is already null and void:

    1. As an executive order, it is secondary in power to any law of the land as interpreted by the courts — unless the legislative and judicial branches have just ceded its power to the executive, and we are in a dictatorship.

    2. As an executive order, it is binding only on the activity of the executive branch, not on the private providers who would provide abortions.

    3. Roe v. Wade obliges any legislation offering medical benefits to cover abortion unless some section in that legislation, such as the Hyde amendment, specifically excludes abortion. This legislation lacks the Hyde exclusion; therefore, this legislation falls under the Roe requirement. The Executive Order, even if it were not null and void, is written not to match the Hyde Amendment language, but rather to match the Senate legislation language which, as we all know, falls short of Hyde.

    As such, the order offers no prevention of federally funded abortion even if it bore any authority.

    4. And of course, Obama will deep-six the executive order whenever he might find it convenient. If somehow it is not a nullity, he will do so: He has never claimed to be pro-life. And if it is not a nullity, he will not need to vacate it, for it will have accomplished its intended goal without costing him the support of NARAL.

    Of course, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, none of this would be a problem.

    But we all know, don’t we, that it’s foolish for pro-lifers to harp so much on the need to overturn that decision.

    It’s counterproductive. It uses up resources that could be more profitably spent courting centrist Democrats and exploring our common ground.

    We know that, this late in the day, it is no longer time for concern about Supreme Court justices and the presidents who select them; it is time to focus on new tactics involving engagement with pro-life Democrats.

    That’s the lesson we learned, back during the 2008 election cycle.

    Everyone remember that?

    Let’s also keep in mind another lesson we learned that year: “Signing statements” are a tyrannical overreach of executive power in which George W. Bush altered the meaning of Congressional legislation at signing, a risky proposition and bad precedent which clearly indicated the need to switch parties in the White House for awhile, lest the occupant of the People’s House start to think his authority trumped that of the legislative branch.

    Must remember that. That was one of those timeless truths for the ages.

    I’ll lay aside my trowel, now: Whatever Babylonian tower we’re building in this country is already in danger of collapse from the sheer weight of the irony.

  • Good post R.C.

    We do need to overturn Roe and we do need to reject signing statements. If I didn’t understand it before, I sure as heck understand it now.

    I think the next step is nullification at the state level.

  • “Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period.”

    I beg to differ.

  • We need you in Congress, Eric. =)

  • Paul,

    You will only be moderated if your comment violates our rules for comments.

  • Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

    Yes.

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

    Yeah, the poor will do real well after a sovereign default.

  • He never planned on fighting. Rep. Bart Stupak speaking in Cheboygan, MI

  • The bishops must take a large amount of blame for this monstrous piece of legislation for several reasons:

    1. Failure to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians and force them to choose between their pro-abortion positions and their desire to receive the sacraments. (This has been going on for four decades)

    2. The Bishops’ push for “universal health care.”

    The big question is: why did the bishops stay on board with this legislation as long as they did?

    The only answer that makes sense is that the bishops favor socialism… big government programs as solutions to their “social justice” aims.

    If this means invasive government intrusion into our lives, so be it. If it means massive tax increases, so be it. If it means wealth redistribution, so be it.

    When it was obvious to many of us that the bill was unacceptable on so many fronts, one could only wonder why the bishops continued to push for it so hard, as long as they got their three concessions (abortion, conscience, immigrants).

    I am saddened, disgusted, and disheartened by the bishops’ push for socialized medicine. How can I have respect for them? Happily, my faith is firmly in Jesus Christ, no matter what the American church’s hierarchy says or does.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Indeed. Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.” If a majority of people in this country think in those terms, democracy is doomed. But I don’t think they do (thank God) and I don’t believe we are doomed yet. There will be a reckoning in November. Those of us who attended tea parties, called our Congressmen, and donated to those who opposed this monstrosity of a bill are not going away and we will not forget the open contempt the Democratic Party has shown toward us. I have sometimes voted Democrat in local elections – never again.

  • Obama has now done something I didn’t think would ever be possible: make me more ashamed to be an Illinois resident than Governor Hairdo ever did. (Speaking of The Hair, did Trump fire him from “Celebrity Apprentice” yet?) If it hadn’t been for our crooked Chicago machine and pathetic, desperate joke of a GOP organization, he might never have been elected Senator and none of this would have happened.

  • Well, Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves. In a bizarre way that puts him in a better place than the G.O.P. who are still somehow convinced that their thefts are not as terrible because they simply love America more, or some nonsense.

    For anyone who is appalled at what is happening right now: Don’t worry. Economics will win. We should just pray that people aren’t hurt when that terrible day comes.

  • Donald: Stupak’s likely GOP opponent in the November is a conservative pro-life physician named Dan Benishek. His Facebook page is growing by the minute.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=share&gid=287806148754

    His site has an address. I never heard of the man until about 20 minutes ago. I’m writing him a check tonight.

    As for Stupak, well, he got his 30 pieces of silver:

    “U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.”

    Betraying your conscience for Wales is one thing, but for three airports in the UP? Now there’s a cheap date.

  • Democrats for Death is more apropos.

    It’s “Game On” for me and the bishops.

    The USCCB is in for some heavy fire coming my way.

    The deaths of many innocent unborn children will be on their hands.

  • Tito, why would you want to pit yourself against the vicars of Christ? It doesn’t seem like a terribly wise idea. Besides, they did not vote for this legislation, nor did they support it. They were one of the few voices saying it was unacceptable, and reminding people that while trying to ensure everyone gets medical care whether they can afford it or not is a a good, that it can’t come at the expense of the most vulnerable.

    The behavior of Catholics who put the Democratic agenda above concerns for life is upsetting, but that wasn’t the bishops – the bishops took a pounding from them!

  • RL,

    I agree with what you are saying.

    Though too many times is seems that the USCCB is just another wing of the Democratic Party rather than vicars of Christ.

    With Democratic Pro-Abort operatives infesting the USCCB along with atheists that endorse anti-Catholic films, and our donations going to abortion facilities and gay marriage advocates (do I need to continue?, there’s more…)

  • I’m not blind to some of the dysfunction within the organization. But let’s be clear, those issues are usually caused by the bureaucrats within. Yeah, some aspects of the USCCB need to be looked at and overhauled, but the bishops themselves got involved in this one – and in real time – and offered solid and informed guidance, holding principles of justice and moderation above their own desires to see some sort of reform. We can and should be very proud of the prophetic witness they gave throughout this process. This ain’t the 1975 NCCB anymore!

  • RL & CB,

    Unlike abortion, we can disagree with our bishops on universal health care.

    They are violating the principle of subsidiarity.

    If they would be this adamant about ending abortion in America, I could agree with their aggressive nature towards universal health coverage, but they don’t.

    The USCCB is not the magisterium, not a teaching authority, and are an invention by Democratic leaning bishops.

    It needs to be absolved. If not, then completely overhauled.

    Until that happens, I will expose them for what they are, a wing of the Democratic party and participants in promoting the Culture of Death.

  • Ever hear of the phrase “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?

  • The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    – Saint John Chrysostom.

    CB,

    In all seriousness I know what you’re getting at so an overhaul is reasonable since my idea of eliminating the USCCB won’t fly… yet.

  • Pingback: November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare « The American Catholic
  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.”

    Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves.

    I don’t think God disapproves of taxation.