President Obama and Congressional leaders have launched the final push to enact healthcare reform. Notably absent from the proposed bill is the Stupak Amendment, a measure approved by the House which restricted the use of federal funds to pay for insurance coverage of abortions.
Instead the rather dubious and completely insufficient Senate language is included in the proposed healthcare bill. In an attempt to refashion the debate on healthcare, the President recently held a bi-partisan summit in the hopes of garnering support for the healthcare bill. While Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy was invited to participate in the summit, notably absent from the invitation list were the pro-life Congressmen Jim Langevin and Bart Stupak.
The passage of the healthcare reform bill has become the top priority for the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders. Clearly, our health care system needs to be reformed. However, attempting to pass a healthcare bill that funds abortion is reckless and irresponsible. The Catholic Bishops of the United States have long supported healthcare reform that ensures access to quality, affordable and life-giving healthcare but abortion is not healthcare.
One of the ways evil slips into our society is by attaching itself to attempts to do good. This happens when legislation supporting abortion is accepted as an attempt to provide better healthcare. Healthcare reform is good for our nation but healthcare that does not respect human life and dignity can never be considered good. Again we remind the President and Congressional leaders that abortion is not healthcare. If they truly want healthcare reform they must restore the Stupak language that ensures that federal funds are never used to fund abortion.
Congressman Bart Stupak has been a man of courage and conviction throughout his entire career and the U.S. Congress could use a few more members of his stature and standing. In the healthcare reform debate, he has consistently and without compromise championed the protection of the unborn. He understands that the taking of innocent human life can never be considered healthcare. His amendment to the House version of the bill gained bi-partisan support in its passage and it must be part of any proposed healthcare reform package. Sadly President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Reid have not included him as part of the healthcare reform effort.
We call upon the leadership and Rhode Island Congressmen Kennedy and Langevin to ensure the protection of human life in any healthcare reform bill. It is clear that any authentic effort at healthcare reform can only take place by standing strong with the pro-life champion Congressman Bart Stupak!