US Bishops Back 3 Life-Protecting Bills

Address Tax Dollars for Abortion, Conscience Rights

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 25, 2011 ( The U.S. bishops are backing three bills before the House of Representatives that seek to prevent tax dollars from being used to fund abortions, and to protect the consciences of health care providers. 

The chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, wrote three separate letters last week to the House regarding the proposed legislation. Two of the letters are from last Thursday, and the third is from last Friday. 

Regarding the Protect Life Act, the cardinal noted that it would address flaws in the health care reform package and bring it «into line with policies on abortion and conscience rights that have long prevailed in other federal health programs.» 

The bill would do this by preventing funds under the new law from subsidizing abortion or health care plans that cover abortion, protecting the consciences of health care providers who decline to participate in an abortion, and ensuring that the law doesn’t override state laws on abortion and conscience. 

Similarly, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act would codify into law the policy of the Hyde/Weldon Amendment and give health care entities that do not provide abortions legal recourse when faced with government-sponsored discrimination. 

«This bill reaffirms a basic principle,» Cardinal DiNardo wrote. «No health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions.» 


Finally, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would make law the policy that «the federal government should not use taxpayers’ money to support and promote elective abortion.» 

Cardinal DiNardo noted that many people already think this policy is law, such that «during the recent health care debate, many assumed it was already in place at all levels of the federal government, when in fact the Hyde amendment is only a rider to the annual Labor/HHS appropriations bill and only governs funds under that act.» 

The bill would prevent problems and confusion on abortion funding in future legislation, the cardinal wrote. Hence, health care reform bills could be debated based on worth, «instead of being mired in debates about one lethal procedure that most Americans know is not truly ‘health care’ at all.» 

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On the Net: 

Letter on the Protect Life Act: 

Letter on the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act: 

Letter on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act:

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