The Catholic Health Association is the latest Pro-Obama “Catholic” organization to endorse the Senate health care bill. In a March 15, 2010 statement, CHA president and CEO SR. Carol Keehan endorsed the bill. She says that life issues are a major concern but that the Senate health care bill does not federally fund abortion. This assumption is either ignorance or a flat out lie. The Senate health care bill will fund for abortions through a simple accounting scheme, one in which has been pointed out by every credible pro-life group. Her statement does not address the euthanasia encouraging language or the lack of conscience protections in the bill. Ironically, a statement made on March 9, 2010 from CHA Senior Vice President Michael Rodgers, which can be found on the front page of their website, encourages passage of the Senate health care bill with a second “corrections” bill to address the concerns over federal funding of abortion. If abortion wasn’t federally funded in the Senate health care bill, why would there need to be a second “corrections” bill to address the issue? You would think the President and Sr. Vice President of CHA would have talked about this before issuing conflicting statements. The fact of the matter is that abortion is funded in the Senate health care bill, and I have to believe that CHA knows this full well. I am extremely disappointed in CHA. Their support of the Senate health care bill has the possibility of misleading Catholics, but hopefully the faithful will listen to their bishops and not the leadership at CHA.
Thankfully the USCCB, who speaks for the teachings of the Catholic Church, reaffirmed their disapproval of the current Senate health care bill shortly after CHA announced it's endorsement, and the USCCB urged Catholics and all people of good will to oppose the bill. Bishop Wenski of Orlando and Archbishop Chaput of Denver made statements reemphasizing the position of the USCCB and discrediting the comments made by CHA and like minded groups. Below are some quotes from Chaput in which I believe best explains the reasons behind our opposition to the bill.
“As I write this column on March 14, the Senate bill remains gravely flawed. It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants,” Chaput writes.
In reference to pro-Obama Catholic organizations who have been claiming that the bill is “sufficiently” pro-life, the Archbishop of Denver argues that “groups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as ‘Catholic’ or ‘prolife’ that endorse the Senate version – whatever their intentions – are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the Catholic community; and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health-care reform.”
Such groups, Archbishop Chaput explains, “create confusion at exactly the moment Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health-care debate. They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation.”
Archbishop Chaput writes that the “most painful feature” in the last weeks of the debate, “has been those ‘Catholic’ groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law. Their flawed judgment could now have damaging consequences for all of us.”
The Archbishop of Denver reminds his readers that the bill “does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community.”
“Catholics and other persons of good will concerned about the foundations of human dignity should oppose it,” he says in closing.
Action Alert –
Since voting on the bill could take place this week, it is imperative that we make our voices heard loud and clear; TODAY. Do not wait. If you are like me and are upset that CHA would endorse this terrible health care bill, below are three recommended action items.
1. Email the president of CHA (Ironically, her email address and contact information for all CHA employees has been removed from their website. However, I happened to get her email before it was taken of the site. Obviously, several people have already been flooding her with emails!)
a. SR. Carol Keehan, President & CEO of CHA
(**Her extremely hard to find email - firstname.lastname@example.org **)
In your email, let her know that you are disappointed to hear that CHA is supporting the Senate health care bill. Mention how you understand that our health care system is not perfect and that you desire health care reform. However you do not accept this health care bill because it does not meet minimum moral standards. Share comments made by the USCCB and especially the comments made by Archbishop Chaput. Let them know that you are pro-life and that any true pro-life American cannot support the bill.
2. Email your local bishop. If they have already made a public statement, thank them for their public witness. If you have not heard your bishop speak out about this health care bill, urge that they publicly go on record opposing the bill. Although the USCCB has released a statement, it can have a far larger impact on the parishioners of a diocese when they hear the message directly from their bishop.
3. Find out how your House representative plans on voting. If they are a firm no, contact them and thank them for their vote. Let them know that you appreciate their vote against this bill. You may also want to mention that you believe that health care is an important issue, and you hope that your representative will be able to work in a bipartisan way to develop real health care reform that is affordable, respects life, extends coverage to the uninsured, and maintains conscience protections for medical workers. If they plan to vote yes, let them know your disapproval. Let them know that if they vote for this bill, you will not vote to reelect them and you will actively campaign against them if they choose to run for reelection. If your representative is a maybe, it is imperative that they hear from you. Urge them to vote no. If they vote yes, you will not vote for them should they choose to run for reelection and you will actively campaign against them.
I can’t stress enough how important it is that you do these things. Time is running out. I ask you to please do what you can to prevent this terrible bill from passing. Know that I will do everything that I mentioned above and I ask that you do the same. In addition to these things, please pray. Pray, pray, pray. God hears our prayers. They can transform hearts and minds. God bless!