December 20, 2009

Senate Bill Unacceptable

US Bishops: Senate Bill Still Unacceptable

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Despite last-minute efforts to improve the language on abortion and conscience rights in the Senate's proposed health care reform bill, the U.S. bishops oppose its passage.

This was affirmed in a statement released Saturday by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the bishops' Committee on Migration; and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the Domestic Policy Committee.

The prelates acknowledge the "good faith" efforts of several Senators in proposing changes to the bill, as well as several positive points of the Manager's Amendment that was proposed Saturday.

While praising adoption tax credits and assistance for pregnant women, the letter laments that the current legislation "does not seem to allow purchasers who exercise freedom of choice or of conscience to 'opt out' of abortion coverage in federally subsidized health plans that include such coverage."

"While we appreciate the good-faith efforts made," the letter continues, "our judgment is the same as it was yesterday: This legislation should not move forward in its current form.

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