US Bishops declare war

I posted on this HERE.

From CNA:

Bishops’ campaign declares war on abortion funding in health care

Washington D.C., Oct 30, 2009 / 05:50 pm (CNA).- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling on Catholics nationwide “to prevent healthcare reform from being derailed by the abortion lobby,” the conference said on Friday. The unprecedented campaign encompasses 19,000 parishes across the country, and asks the faithful to fight for restrictions on abortion funding in the health care bills by contacting their congressmen.

Because the USCCB has championed the cause of health care reform for over a decade, their current effort is extraordinary.

“The bishops want health care reform, but they recoil at any expansion of abortion,” explained Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary for Communications.

The bishops, who described the mobilization of parishes as “a make or break effort,” have already told Congress in a letter, “If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”

While the grassroots effort does not appear to have risen to the level of outright opposition, the bishops also reiterated in their bulletin insert that “our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or ill for years to come.”

The time line for influencing members of Congress appears to be short, with a vote on the bill expected in early November.

The Catholic bishops are also pushing for affordability, access to health care for legal immigrants and the protection of consciences.

“Genuine health care reform is much needed and should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of conception until natural death. Mandated coverage for abortion should be excluded and longstanding policies against abortion funding and supporting conscience rights should be included. No one should be required to pay for or participate in  abortion,” they said, reiterating that no current bill meets these criteria.

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  1. Steve K. says:

    Deo Gratias! Thank you bishops!

  2. Jacob says:

    “The bishops want health care reform, but they recoil at any expansion of abortion,” explained Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary for Communications.

    While I back the bishops one hundred percent in their efforts to block abortion language, I can’t help but feel that they’re missing the larger picture by otherwise ignoring the impact current legislation supported by the Democrats will have on our lives. Win the battle, lose the war.

  3. JosephMary says:

    It is so late in the game. Still, I am happy to see there seems to be a concensus here on this important issue of the Right to Life from conception to natural death.

  4. I wonder what effects this might have on the issue of proabortion politicians and holy communion — I suspect it could bring the issue to yet another head.

  5. Girgadis says:

    This is good news, but I would like to respectfully suggest that the bishops not stop here. Right now, there are non-Catholic hospitals that perform late-term abortions. These same hospitals care for Catholic patients and have Catholic priests visit the sick with the Eucharist every day. In this economy, even hospitals are desperate for customers. This is the perfect environment to put pressure on these insitutions to adhere to their oaths to do no harm or kiss their Catholic clientle goodbye. If it’s wrong to vote for politicians who support access to abortions, surely it can’t be right to patronize the institutions that perform them.

  6. Peggy R says:

    While I am happy to join the bishops in opposing this evil bill, I am frustrated by my belief, which is clearly shared by other laity, that, had the bill not funded abortions and allowed for rights of conscience, the USCCB would be on board with this monstrous, irresponsible, disastrous endeavor. I oppose it for much broader reasons as well as the many little nasty tidbits that we find throughout the bill.

    I am happy to participate in this all-out “war” led by the bishops. But if things change on those 2 narrow issues, they lose me. I will remain opposed while the bishops might support this mess.

    St Michael, pray for us!

  7. Apparently some people just don’t get this.

  8. Geremia says:

    Isn’t it a little too late for this now? And why now? This campaign should have begun back in July. I suppose it’s better late than never, though.

  9. isabella says:

    OK, maybe it has taken the bishops a little longer than I’d like to get their act together. However, they’ve been criticized for everything but global warming lately, and I think I’d be a little gun-shy too in their positions. But now that they have finally spoken out, why not unite behind them?

    Plus with God, who can say that it really is “too little, too late”? For now, maybe we should put aside our differences and support the bishops with prayer and fasting. Pelosi can still be stopped. I called my Congressman again too, just to cover all the bases.

    Now that the bishops have gone out on a limb, don’t saw it off behind them. That’s like saying that God doesn’t have the power to step in and say “Finally! Yes! They are being the shepherds they were ordained to be.” and covering their backs.

    First things first. Abortion must end. Support the bishops and doctors with consciences who are willing to go to prison and close their practices, before putting Caesar ahead of God. We can always go back to squabbling later about the details.

  10. Traductora says:

    I’m happy to see this and I’m sure it was hard-won, because there are some bishops who no doubt wouldn’t dream of opposing anything Democrats do. However, I do think at the same time that it’s missing the point and is setting us up to be duped. The implication is that all they have to do to get Catholic approval of this monstrosity is remove a bit of language to which Catholics object and maybe put in some eyewash language to tranquilize us. By now, everybody should realize that Obama’s “promises” mean absolutely nothing, and even if the bill doesn’t have language in it permitting or funding abortion, or even if it actually says it won’t do so, this is meaningless to him because his whole life is built around abortion and control of the lives of the citizens. He has lied about many things in the past to get his way and will do so now and in the future.

    I think the whole bill should be opposed simply because of its power to coerce, to intrude into every aspect of life, and ultimately to steamroller and crush the Catholic defense of life from conception to natural death with the full force of the US government. The only ray of hope is that he might bankrupt us first and not be able to carry it out.

  11. Girgadis says:

    Isabella and everyone

    Please don’t forget the allied health workers – nurses, technicians -who do not have the benefit of a powerful lobby like the AMA behind them. These are the people who have been on the frontlines of battling to maintain and strengthen the conscience clause. Everyday, hospitals try to employ strongarm tactics to coerce these workers to participate in abortion or face retribution. When I have fellow nurses tell me that a hospital should provide abortions because it’s safer than the way abortions used to be performed, I ask them how safe it is for the baby who is ripped to pieces in the womb. They can’t answer me. When the conscience clause was in jeopardy of getting watered down, nurses flooded the White House with phone calls voicing our opposition. Even with the clause, hosptials do their best to find ways around it. I beg all of you to pray for healthcare workers because without their cooperation, this abomination can’t take place. And please be prepared to support them with boycotts and other actions when they land on the sidewalk for refusing to participate in murder. I’m fearful that day is closer than we think.

  12. diezba says:

    I don’t know if it’s appropriate to post this (and if it’s not, I imagine Fr. Z will delete this post forthwith), but when one clicks on the web banner ad that the USCCB has been distributing, one is taken to a handy website that allows one to send emails to one’s Congressman and both of one’s Senators.

    I commend the link to all here (and invite Fr. Z, if he believes it appropriate, to post the link — or an ad linking to the link — on his blog):

  13. Geremia says:

    Plus with God, who can say that it really is “too little, too late”? For now, maybe we should put aside our differences and support the bishops with prayer and fasting. Pelosi can still be stopped.
    Comment by isabella — 31 October 2009 @ 4:03 am


  14. isabella says:


    I agree with everything you said, and if there is something concrete I can do to help (letter-writing, phone calls, etc.) in addition to prayer, I will. Any suggestions? Serious offer. I don’t have a huge house, but if a nurse or tech quit working at an abortion clinic, I would be willing to let her share my house rent free until she could find a better job. I’d probably consult a good Catholic attorney first though, to make sure I’m not just being played.

    However, a lot of locations have serious gag rules about approaching staff because, supposedly, you are all terrified of us. When we pray outside the local clinic, I also pray a Rosary on my knees that the nurses and support staff will be able to find the kinds of jobs that will let them leave this disgusting work – because so many do NOT want to be there, but feel trapped by the economy. I agree that the pro-life docs/AMA need to support them and hire them if they want to do more than whine about their *own* tender consciences. Don’t know how to make this happen, though.

    Our local PP is going to RU-486 and ignoring the risk to women, which I think will eventually get them a class action suit, but at a horrible cost. And when they do that, they will probably fire a good many nurses and techs anyway, IMHO. So leave at a time of your choosing, not theirs if possible. If you flat can’t, I’ll pray that things change for you.

  15. Sedgwick says:

    I’m with Traductora and Peggy R: this is not a health care “reform” bill no matter how you slice it. “Reform” means fixing something that’s wrong, doesn’t it? What exactly does Obamacare fix? Nothing – it is just a massive government take-over of the medical profession to suit the disposability of life in the New World Order (now there’s a phrase you should start promoting as well, Father Z). And pardon me for being cynical, but how many of these “war-declaring” bishops voted for this barbarian? About 95%? Please!

    How about all those USCCB bureaucrats come out with a health care reform bill of their own? One that is, just for a change of pace, Catholic, not Marxist?

  16. Sedgwick says:

    Here’s the WSJ on the bigger picture of this “health care” bill:

  17. Girgadis says:


    You’re a dear for such a generous offer but I’m thinking more along the lines of boycotting any hospital that performs abortions. Hospitals, like businesses, are hurting for customers in this economy and there may be no better time for us to exert some financial pressure to give up this barbaric practice or lose their Catholic clientele. Unlike abortion mills, hospitals perform many types of surgeries so when a nurse or scrub tech signs up to go to work there, they’re often not aware that abortions take place. Talk to your local pro-life organization to see if any such hospitals are in your area and consider peaceful and prayerful protest in addition to the boycott threat. A hospital in my area is known for bringing babies into the world and they were recently highlighted in a pro-life newsletter for having also killed hundreds of babies in the course of a year via abortion. They are reconsidering their actions because no one wants to be a patient at a hospital that snuffs out life. There is also an internal effort by some of the nurses and techs to block this from happening anymore by persuading those on the fence to no longer participate in infanticide.

    By the way, I haven’t gone to many sidewalk protests but when I have, I’ve always concentrated on the workers more than the women going in. If we can’t change the laws overnight, we can work on having legalized abortion die a death of attrition from fewer and fewer people willing to provide them.

  18. isabella says:


    I really don’t know if our local hospital does abortions or not. A while ago, there was a quarrel between the local Right to Life and our Archbishop (it’s a Catholic hospital) and I’m not sure who to believe. For now, I’m not sure anybody really knows for sure if they do or not. Same for the other big hospital (private).

    And you are right – the ones that do abortions don’t publicize it, especially the private docs who give out RU-486. Maybe the nurses and techs can leak the information, along with some proof. I think most people would go to jail before ratting them out, if they did. It’s kind of difficult to find out sometimes, as you noted above, even for insiders, until you are scrubbing for something you don’t want to do. I am really sorry that happens.

    Or an attorney from the St Thomas More society can maybe find a technicality to allow you to walk out or not participate?

    We do pray peacefully outside the local clinic, which calls itself the “women’s health center”. A lot of people don’t know they do abortions there until they see us and ask exactly where the abortion clinic is. I usually turn around and just point. The usual response is “oh, ick!” although we get yelled at some too.

    There was a big wind storm last week and complete strangers sitting at the bus stop were running out into traffic to retrieve signs (that we had decided were not worth anybody’s life, so we just let them go). And the traffic stopped for them when they saw what was happening. One man chased my copy of the Dies Irae for a few blocks and just wordlessly handed it back to me. So God Bless them and I think the great silent majority is waking up. (The clinic OTOH was probably taking pics and laughing, until they saw the people helping us).

    But I seriously would let somebody live with me if it came to that. Maybe I’ll put it on a sign, although I’d want a background check and references. If they truly want to just walk out and quit, I have food and a roof over their heads to offer while they look for a better job.

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