Obama Promise Welcomed: No Tax-Funded Abortion

Aides Note Church Has Been Working for Reform for Decades

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WASHINGTON, D.C. SEPT. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- U.S. bishops’ aides welcomed some of the promises made by President Barack Obama on Wednesday when he addressed the nation regarding his plan to overhaul the health care system.

Kathy Saile, director of the episcopal conference committee on Domestic Social Development, said the bishops are in agreement that no one should go broke because they get sick.

“That’s why the U.S. bishops have worked for decades for decent health care for all,” she said. “The Catholic Church provides health care for millions, purchases health care, picks up the pieces of a failing health system, and has a long tradition of teaching on ethics in health care.

“Health care reform that respects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority.”

Federal funding

Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of the Pro-Life Activities committee, said the president’s stated commitment to exclude federal funding for abortion was particularly welcomed, as was his promise to protect conscience rights.

“We believe that incorporating essential and longstanding federal laws on these issues into any new proposal will strengthen support for health care reform,” he said. “We will work […] to ensure that these protections are clearly reflected in new legislation, so no one is required to pay for or take part in abortion as a result of health care reform.”

Saile said that the president is right in saying “there are details that need to be ironed out.”

“And,” she added, “with his address last night, we see the opportunity to work toward a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity, access for all with a special concern for the poor, and inclusion of legal immigrants. We also see the possibility of meeting the bishops’ goal to pursue the common good and preserve pluralism, including freedom of conscience and a variety of options, and restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.”

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