Monday, November 2, 2009

US Bishops, Planned Parenthood Agree on Healthcare Bills - Updated

At least on what’s in them. (UPDATE BELOW) Last Wednesday, the USCCB began an unprecedented campaign encouraging Catholics to call Congress demanding the various healthcare reform bills be changed. Bottom line, they said, excerpts:

The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committee approved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. . .

. . .None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care. . .

. . .Please contact your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills. . .

On Friday, Planned Parenthood Federation President Cecile Richards wrote one of her ‘dear friend’ letters asking abortion industry supporters to call Congress demanding they keep the various healthcare reform bills exactly as they are. Bottom line, she said, excerpts (my emphases):

Because of relentless pressure from dedicated supporters like you, every version of the bills out there right now is free of the dangerous amendments anti-choice members of Congress tried to attach to health care reform. . .

. . .I've been talking to leaders in the House and Senate since the beginning, helping them craft legislation that protects women, respects choice, and expands access. We've worked closely with pro-choice lawmakers to defeat dozens of proposed amendments that would have been devastating for women's health. . .

. . .Tell your representatives to pass this crucial bill intact, and reject efforts to remove reproductive health care from health care reform.

The bishops and Planned Parenthood both agree that the health care bills currently are not “abortion neutral”. The bills strongly favor Planned Parenthood and expanded access to the “services” they provide – at taxpayer expense.

The bishops want the bills changed. Planned Parenthood wants them to remain the same. When you hear a politician or pundit say the bills, as they are, reflect an “abortion neutral” stance – you know whose interests they’re working for.

Cecile Richards reports that 220,000 Planned Parenthood supporters have already made their voices heard to Congress. Have you done what the bishops have asked? Here’s that action item from the bishops again:

ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.


- To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
- Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov & www.senate.gov.


MESSAGE to SENATE:


“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to
incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.
If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”


MESSAGE to HOUSE:


“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion
funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the
bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill
should be opposed.”


WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. Act today! Thank you!


UPDATE

If you're not convinced your voice can make a difference, look at what Cecile Richards wrote to abortion industry supporters today:

A few days ago, it felt as if we were holding strong in achieving health care reform that would finally ensure comprehensive coverage for everyone. As the legislation began moving closer to a vote, I knew that our job holding on to our reproductive health victories would be hard ... and then I received a copy of a memo that the Catholic bishops sent to their congregations.

As I write this, the bishops have asked all the Catholics in the country to contact their legislators, asking them to alter current health care legislation to include anti-choice amendments. The bishops have inserted letters into church bulletins and asked priests to include their call to action in their sermons — and even in their prayers — during Sunday services.

It's clear that every group opposed to a woman's right to choose is pulling out all the stops this week to bring all the progress we've made on health care reform to a grinding halt. The results could be devastating to everyone who desperately needs health care, including the women, men, and teens that Planned Parenthood serves. Once again, we urgently need your help.

Her letter even encourages Catholics to defy the Church and human life and write her to tell about it:
If you're Catholic and you disagree with the bishops, please let your legislators know when you send your message. Your voice as a pro-choice Catholic needs to be heard NOW.

If you can do one thing, sign the online letter to your congressional representatives. It took me 30 seconds to contact my Representatives and two Senators.