Bishop Gives 4 Principles for Health Care Reform

Calls for Catholics to Evaluate Proposals Well

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FARGO, North Dakota, SEPT. 2, 2009 ( The bishop of Fargo is outlining four principles for Catholics to take into account when analyzing the moral value of a health care reform proposal.

In a statement released Aug. 29, Bishop Samuel Aquila addressed the current debate in the U.S. legislature over various health care reform proposals.

He affirmed that the Church «ought to always promote wider and more complete access to health care,» but clarified that this «does not mean that in practice the Church ought to support each and every plan which is proposed by civil leaders.»

Thus, the prelate offered four principles «that should always be used when evaluating the moral value and justice of a given plan to provide health care.»

The first, he stated, is that «any provisions for actions which deny the dignity of human life, especially abortion, euthanasia, whether passive or active, and embryonic stem-cell research must be excluded from all health care plans.»

As a second principle, the bishop affirmed, «the freedom of consciences must be safeguarded.»

He continued, «The moral voice of individual doctors, nurses, health professionals, as well as the general public, deserve reverence and respect.»

The statement emphasized a third principle: «Access to health care ought to be available to all people, including the poor, legal immigrants, the handicapped, and especially the elderly and unborn members of society.»

Lastly, it continued, «the means of providing access to health care should be governed by the principle of subsidiarity, being reasonably and equitably distributed among members of society.»

Upon the foundation of these four principles, Bishop Aquila noted, a «fruitful discussion about health care reform» can be built.

He urged Catholics to «become engaged in promoting genuine health care reform» and to work for the «well-being and flourishing of all human life.»

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