US Bishops Laud Government Move on Abortion

Administration Makes Turn-Around on Insurance Coverage

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 16, 2010 ( A federal insurance program was set to fund abortions in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, but public criticism brought a turn-around from the Department of Health and Human Services, which said it would act to exclude abortion from the program.

That move averted an «alarming precedent,» according to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The assurance that the program will exclude abortion is in «accord with the assurances that Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius and President [Barack] Obama have repeatedly made that [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] will not be used to promote abortion,» the cardinal recalled.

«We welcome this new policy,» he said, «while continuing to be gravely concerned that it was not issued until after some states had announced that pro-abortion health plans were approved and had begun to enroll patients.»

The prelate stated that the situation reiterates a need for Congress to enact legislation that clearly keeps funds from the act away from abortions and insurance coverage that includes abortion.

«Such legislation would mirror the Hyde amendment and similar provisions which prevent such abortion funding in all other federal health programs,» Cardinal DiNardo noted.

He declared that «the issue of government involvement in the taking of innocent human life should not remain subject to the changeable discretion of executive officials or depend on the continued vigilance of pro-life advocates.»

People with serious medical conditions who will get help through a program such as this, the cardinal said, should be «assured that their coverage will be life-affirming, not life-threatening.»

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