Monday, November 9, 2009

Abortion is OUT of the House healthcare bill thanks to US Bishops' brokering

As many know by now, the US House of Representatives passed their health care bill over the weekend. While, personally, I still think there are many problems with the bill, we can see as a direct result of the outcry from Catholics around the nation and the US Catholic Bishops demanding that the House bill abandon abortion as mandatory health care.

This snippet describes this news from this article in the Wall Street Journal.

"We're really disappointed," said Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "It does set a new precedent."
Backers of the House measure, which was approved Saturday night by a 240-194 vote, argued that it effectively preserves the status quo for abortion funding. They noted that other federal health programs, such as the Medicaid federal-state program for the poor, don't cover abortion.
"We did not want this legislation to be a vehicle for expanding abortion or for changing federal policy on abortion in the wrong direction," said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the secretariat of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The abortion issue was at the center of last-minute wrangling in the House. A bloc of Democrats, backed by the Catholic bishops, threatened to scuttle the House health bill if leaders didn't take up the antiabortion measure. In an unusual show of influence, Mr. Doerflinger and other representatives of the bishops on Friday met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to broker an agreement. Ms. Pelosi, who favors abortion rights, reluctantly agreed to bring the measure to the floor, and it became part of the broader bill that passed in the House late Saturday.
Earlier versions of the bill allowed some federally subsidized plans to cover the procedure as long as they restricted payments for abortions to private dollars.

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