The Blog

Another Unholy Compromise on Obamacare

10:08 AM, Mar 19, 2010 • By MARK TOOLEY
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

When explaining why the Catholic bishops oppose the Senate version of Obamacare, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained that it would dramatically change the “status quo in federal abortion policy, as reflected in the Hyde Amendment,” which  “excludes abortion from all health insurance plans receiving federal subsidies.”  By contrast, the Senate bill stipulates only that at least one of the “proposed multi-state plans will not cover elective abortions – all other plans (including other multi-state plans) can do so, and receive federal tax credits. This means that individuals or families in complex medical circumstances will likely be forced to choose and contribute to an insurance plan that funds abortions in order to meet their particular health needs.”

Cardinal George also pointed out that the Senate bill authorizes billions of dollars in “new funding outside the scope of the appropriations bills” covered by the Hyde amendment’s restrictions.   New funds for community health centers could fund abortions because no statute would prevent changing regulations that currently abide by Hyde.  He also complained that the Senate bill lacks Hyde’s strong conscience protections on abortion and offers no “meaningful” conscience protection beyond abortion.  

“This is not quibbling over technicalities,” Cardinal George insisted when explaining why the Catholic bishops “must” oppose the Senate bill.  “The deliberate omission in the Senate Bill of the necessary language that could have taken this moral question off the table and out of play leaves us still looking for a way to meet the President’s and our concern to provide health care for those millions whose primary care physician is now an emergency room doctor.”  He quoted Pope Benedict by affirming there is “an indissoluble bond between an ethic of life and every other aspect of social ethics.”

Evidently that “indissoluble bond” is not so important for the liberal evangelicals and Catholics lobbying the House for the Senate version of Obamacare.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers