Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann blasted Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association for coming out in support of the Senate health-care reform bill, which would allowi federal dollars to subsidize abortion-covering health-care plans. The bishop urged his flock instead to demand Congress vote against the bill, and give Sister Carol a piece of their minds.
“I was deeply troubled to learn that Sister Carol Keehan, the Chief Executive for the Catholic Health Association has urged members of the House of Representatives to vote for the Senate Health Care Reform Bill,” said Naumann writing in The Leaven, the Kansas Archdiocese newspaper. “This action by the Catholic Health Association could not come at a more critical time.”
The archbishop pointed out that CHA’s intervention comes at a time when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hammering away for votes for the Senate bill, and right in her crosshairs stands the “Pro-Life Democrats,” whose opposition is critical to defeat the Senate bill. In fact, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) indicated earlier this week that some of his pro-life Democrats may be wavering under the relentless pressure that Pelosi and the Democratic leadership have put on them to support the bill.
This latest maneuver from CHA has all the appearance of being a deliberate attempt to undermine the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has urged Catholics to oppose the bill “unless a way is found to amend the bill to prohibit federal funding of abortion and provide conscience protection for health care professionals as well as health care institutions.”
“The Catholic Health Association’s position, in effect, provides cover for any member of the House who chooses to buckle under the pressure of the President and the Democratic leadership to accept government funding of abortion,” protested Naumann. “They can now defend themselves by pointing out that Catholic Health Care leaders recommended they vote for the bill.”
The archbishop called Keehan either “incredibly naïve or disingenuous” for asserting that the Senate bill prevents federal funding of abortions, when the U.S. Bishops, National Right to Life Committee and “every other creditable pro-life organization” say otherwise.
“Either the bill permits previously prohibited government funding of abortion or not. This is not a technicality,” stated Naumann.
He reiterated the three grave problems the USCCB had discovered in the Senate bill: first, the seven billion dollars “for services at Community Health Centers that can be used directly for elective abortions.” Pro-life groups point out that Planned Parenthood would qualify as a community health provider under the bill.
Second, he said, the bill “uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions. By subsidizing plans that cover abortions, the federal government will expand abortion coverage and make abortions more accessible.”
Third, the Senate legislation “uses the power of the federal government to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed to abortion.”
“If the Senate had wanted to prohibit federal funding for abortion all they had to do was accept the language that had been adopted by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority,” he said. “The Senate rejected this language.”
Naumann added that the U.S. Catholic Bishops have other concerns as well, such as adequate conscience protection for health care professionals as well as institutions, which he said the Senate bill fails to provide.
“One would think that the Catholic Health Association would be extremely concerned about conscience protection. However, if the Catholic Health Association is willing to compromise on government funding for abortion, then who needs conscience protection?”
The archbishop explained that he does not doubt the “laudable intentions” of Sister Keehan and the CHA, who observe serious problems in the health care system. “However, it is not permissible to try to improve the quality of life for some by cooperating in the killing of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our human family,” he said.
Naumann added that believing in President Obama or Senate and House leadership promises to correct the issues in a later fix-it bill was “foolish,” saying that while Obama has flipped on many campaign promises, he has been scrupulously faithful in his promises to Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry to advance their agenda.
The Kansas archbishop said that while no swing votes on health-care reform are Kansas Congressmen, he urged Catholics to contact those critical swing votes. “These House Members hold the fate of the entire nation in their hands. They need to hear from Americans throughout the country,” he said.
Finally, the archbishop told Catholics “to contact Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association expressing to them your disappointment in their willingness to accept government funded abortion as part of health care reform.”
Visit The Leaven’s website to find contact information for key Congressional swing votes and Sr. Carol Keehan of CHA.