“The Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment will keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections in the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962),” they said.
The letter was signed by Cardinal Justin Rigali, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
The letter follows.
On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we strongly urge you to vote for the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment and to support a fair process in the House of Representatives to consider this essential improvement in health care reform legislation. The Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment will keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections in the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962).
Despite some claims to the contrary, H.R. 3962 does not reflect the status quo on abortion. It fails to explicitly and clearly include the longstanding policy prohibiting federal funding of elective abortion and plans which include elective abortion (Hyde Amendment). Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other federal health legislation include this provision. Currently H.R. 3962 has some helpful provisions on conscience protection and non- preemption of state laws, but it utterly fails to maintain current prohibitions on abortion mandates and abortion funding. Instead it creates elaborate measures requiring people to pay for other people’s abortions with their taxes, private premiums or federal subsidies. Significantly, the Federal Employee Heath Benefit Program, which covers all members of Congress and their families, has long been governed by the Hyde amendment in all its aspects and is widely seen as a model for reform.