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Reaction to draft Senate health care bill

After the U.S. Senate introduced a “discussion draft” of its health care bill, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, highlighted certain positive elements in the bill, but reiterated the need for senators to remove unacceptable flaws in the legislation that harm those most in need.

The full statement follows:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is examining very closely the new Senate “discussion  draft” introduced today and will provide more detailed comments soon. 

It must be made clear now, however, that this proposal retains many of the fundamental defects of the House of Representatives-passed health care legislation, and even further compounds them. It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written.

An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life. Such a health care system must protect conscience rights as well as extend to immigrant families.

The bishops value language in the legislation recognizing that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it. While questions remain about the provisions and whether they will remain in the final bill, if retained and effective this would correct a flaw in the Affordable Care Act by fully applying the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde amendment protections. Full Hyde protections are essential and must be included in the final bill.   

However, the discussion draft introduced today retains a “per-capita cap” on Medicaid funding, and then connects yearly increases to formulas that would provide even less to those in need than the House bill. These changes will wreak havoc on low-income families and struggling communities and must not be supported.

Efforts by the Senate to provide stronger support for those living at and above the poverty line are a positive step forward. However, as is, the discussion draft stands to cause disturbing damage to the human beings served by the social safety net. 

The USCCB has also stressed the need to improve real access for immigrants in health care policy, and this bill does not move the nation toward this goal. It fails, as well, to put in place conscience protections for all those involved in the health care system, protections, which are needed more than ever in our country’s health policy. The Senate should now act to make changes to the draft that will protect those persons on the peripheries of our health care system. We look forward to the process to improve this discussion draft that surely must take place in the days ahead.
 

Moral Principles for Health Care Reform

As the U.S. Senate begins to discuss health care reform, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin provided moral principles to help guide policymakers in their deliberations.
 
In a letter sent on June 1, the chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stressed the "grave obligations" that Senators have "when it comes to policy that affects health care." While commending the bill passed by the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act, for its protections for unborn children, the Bishops emphasized the "many serious flaws" in the AHCA, including unacceptable changes to Medicaid.
 
"The Catholic Church remains committed to ensuring the fundamental right to medical care, a right which is in keeping with the God-given dignity of every person, and the corresponding obligation as a country to provide for this right," the Chairmen wrote. "[T]hose without a strong voice in the process must not bear the brunt of attempts to cut costs."
 
Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Dewane heads the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Vásquez is the chairman of the Committee on Migration.
 
The bishops outlined key principles for senators such as universal access, respect for life, true affordability, the need for high quality and comprehensive medical care and conscience protections.
 
If the Senate takes up the House bill as a starting point, the letter urges that lawmakers "must retain the positive elements of the bill and remedy its grave deficiencies." Specifically, the chairmen called on the Senate to: reject dramatic changes to Medicaid; retain the AHCA's life protections; increase the level of tax assistance, especially for low-income and older people; retain the existing cap on costs of plans for the elderly; protect immigrants; and add conscience protections, among other things.
 
The full letter to Congress can be found at: usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Senate-Principles-letter-Health-Care-Reform-2017-06-01.pdf.
 
 
 

Delegates prepare for Convocation of Catholic Leaders

The 3,000 people attending the upcoming Convocation of Catholic Leaders are being seen as members of diocesan teams who will return home to act on what they see and learn while discussing the church's role in a changing social landscape.

A combination guidebook and journal has been developed to help the delegates prepare for the gathering in Orlando, Florida, set for July 1-4.

The 68-page book offers activities for the diocesan teams as they meet during the weeks leading to the gathering, allowing them to reflect and pray on Scripture and the teachings of Pope Francis, particularly his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel").

"To get something done, we want people to have prepared as teams before they come in to get more out of (the convocation)," said Jonathan Reyes, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and a convocation planner. "What you get out of this is what you put into it."

The booklet is being sent to each registered participant to the invitation-only event. It also is available online to anyone interested in learning more about the convocation at bit.ly/2rR6OTY.

Reyes told Catholic News Service that the guidebook encourages team members to plan which sessions to attend that fits with the goals of their diocese in building a church built on mercy and missionary discipleship.

"In the ideal world, it's forming a team that brings together people from the peripheries who are not normally together. This book is what's going to help them think as a team before they get there. It gives them some things to reflect on together," he explained.

"We're trying to make clear that this isn't the kind of thing you attend passively and that bishops and leaders are meant to be integrated in a conversation of the whole church together and experience the conference not as the bishops over there, the laypeople over here. It's actually meant to be everyone mixing together in conversation," Reyes added.

The guidebook offers numerous Scripture citations and references to passages from the pope's exhortation. Delegates are encouraged to read some of the passages and pray about what they mean for their particular role in the convocation and the church at home.

A separate section includes space for journal entries based on the discussion of each day of the convocation. The idea, Reyes said, is to allow participants the opportunity to reflect in the moment and then return to their writings when they return home.

"It's spiritual preparation as well," Reyes said of the book. "It's deeply scriptural and there's a lot of "Evangelii Gaudium" as well as some other key church documents from the bishops. It's a lot of Scripture and a lot of Pope Francis."

The convocation is meant to guide people to build the church that Pope Francis is calling people to shape, Reyes added.

"We didn't want to create a program. This (convocation) is for people to design or think through together what mission looks like. Pope Francis says again and again, 'Don't do the same old things.' You want to think creatively. So we're not going to put together a program, but people are going to experience, hopefully, in a way that gives them a way forward, a vision for their own," he said.

Meanwhile, more than $500,000 had been pledged to support scholarships for people attending the convocation. Reyes' department and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development have allocated $100,000 each in financial assistance. The Black and Indian Mission Office has pledged another $300,000.

The goal of such scholarships is to allow diverse voices to be on hand in Orlando, Reyes said.

"If there's a Francis inspiration in this, it's let's not just talk, (but) act," he told CNS. "So we are pushing action, action, action through proper preparation."

Mario Sports Superstars

There's good news for Nintendo fans. The gaming giant has just announced plans to release a new handheld console, the 2DS XL, in July.
 
At $149.99, the 2DS XL will be half the cost of the Nintendo Switch, the much-hyped system that has been so popular it's still not available in many stores.
 
For the parents of younger gamers, paying that amount for a handheld that plays all the extant Nintendo 3DS games might be a helpful cost-saving option. All the more so, since the 2DS XL will have a long back catalog, and there have been questions about the number of games that are going to be available on the Switch.
 
For those same parents, a good place to start with the 2DS XL might be "Mario Sports Superstars." It's a basic game featuring the famous mustachioed plumber competing in five different sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and horse racing. As its Entertainment Software Ratings Board rating suggests, the game is free of objectionable content.
 
All the sports here have been represented in previous Nintendo titles and with greater depth. So this is not a game for advanced players. For beginning gamers and those looking for a fun and family-friendly way to spend a couple of hours, on the other hand, Mario's latest outing makes for a colorful diversion.
 
Most of the games are just what you'd expect. Players direct Mario as he competes against brightly dressed opponents on the field of play. The controls are easy to master, and there are not as many different levels or challenges as players would find in more complex games. This is old-school gaming with lots of charm but limited options for advanced play.
 
The big surprise here is the horse racing. And one of the most valuable aspects of this feature involves activities off the track. Before racing, players can customize and care for their horses -- feeding, grooming and walking the animals. This is a gentle way to teach kids compassion and concern for God's creatures.
 
The race itself is exciting, rewarding horses with more stamina if they remain close to each other on the track. It's a highlight of this serviceable -- if not spectacular -- product.
 
The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is E -- everyone.
 

Natural Procreative Technology

In this age of astonishing advances in medical treatments, not all progress comes in the form of pharmacological discoveries. Some innovations, in fact, are as old as time itself.
 
This is the case with Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTECHNOLOGY), a holistic approach to women’s healthcare where diagnoses are made in concert with a woman’s intimate understanding of her own body and where treatments do not disrupt or suppress natural reproductive function. NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning to identify underlying causes and provide natural solutions for a range of gynecological issues, including infertility, miscarriages, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome and postpartum depression.
 
In February, a NaProTECHNOLOGY practice opened at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., under the leadership of Dr. Sarah Bascle and assisted by Nancy Malo, a certified fertility care practitioner, as well as a registered nurse and a certified nurse midwife, who will all be dedicated to the philosophy. The practice is the first, not just in New Hampshire but in all of New England and much of the East Coast, that is solely dedicated to Natural Family Planning and NaProTECHNOLOGY.
 
Because NaProTECHNOLOGY is effective, science-based and in complete accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, the staff at the medical center is excited to welcome Bascle to their medical team to provide a regional natural procreative practice that will be able to serve patients from far beyond the West Side of Manchester.
 
Nicole Pendenza, director of Maternal and Child Health Care, conveyed the enthusiasm of her colleagues. “We have been looking to open a practice like this at CMC for many years now but have had difficulty finding the right practitioner.”
 
When Bascle entered medical school at Tulane University, she requested that she be able to fulfill her residency “without having to leave my faith at the hospital door, and they accommodated this,” she said. She also began doing her own research and became acquainted with alternatives to birth control and hormonal treatment for fertility, respectively known as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTECHNOLOGY.
 
The Creighton Model and NaProTECHNOLOGY was developed by Dr. Thomas Hilgers while working at the St. Louis University and Creighton University Schools of Medicine. Hilgers, who is now currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Creighton University School of Medicine, published “The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaProTECHNOLOGY” in 2004.
 
Malo had been looking forward to welcoming a NaProTECHNOLOGY practice to the hospital. “Now we will host the only practice in the region with full service OB/GYN care that is couple-centered and morally acceptable to people of all faiths. I’ve been told repeatedly by women ‘This is an answer to my prayers!’”
 
For more information visit cmc-womenswellness.org, naprotechnology.com or call 603-314-7597.

---------- 
By Gary Bouchard, originally published in Parable, magazine of the Diocese of Manchester, Nov./Dec. 2016 
 

Catholic young women’s initiatives

Attending a Catholic young women's leadership forum taught Michelle Nunez, 23, that "our vocation as women is to be receptive to God's gifts."
 
What Nunez learned about the "feminine genius," a term used by St. John Paul II to describe the gifts of women, helps her, a year later, in her volunteer work with immigrants at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
 
Nunez and 300 young women representing dioceses from all 50 states are using their specific gifts to carry out their "action plans" following the June 2016 Given Forum at The Catholic University of America. An initiative of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the forum brought young Catholic women together for a weeklong immersion in "faith formation, leadership training and networking."
"We wanted each (of the attendees) to receive these truths: You are a gift; you have received specific gifts of nature and grace; the church and the world await your unique expression of the feminine genius," said Sister Bethany Madonna, a Sister of Life and co-chair of the event.
 
Part of the application process required women to submit "action plans," new initiatives inspired by their own gifts, interests and leadership skills, which would be implemented in the months following the conference.
 
As her "action plan," Nunez, from Houston, originally planned "to create a nonprofit, holistic agency to work with Hispanic women, to have different courses to take care of their mind, body, spirit." But after hearing Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus and executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, at the conference, Nunez said, "I just knew I needed to work with her."
 
The center assists immigrants from Central America, who are seeking asylum and traveling to meet family members in the United States. "ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) releases them from the detention center where they are process for about three days. We pick them up from the bus station ... give them clothes, they shower" and wait for their buses to meet family members in other parts of the country.
 
Nunez sees her volunteer work as a ministry of listening. "While they're waiting there, I sit down with them and talk to them," Nunez said. She hopes to be "a voice for the voiceless" to "share a little bit of their stories with other people here in the U.S." Ultimately this will bring her closer to the "bigger picture," her nonprofit.
 
In forming her action plan, Casey Bustamante, 30, saw a need for a "gathering of young adults, active military and spouses." Bustamante, associate director of young adult ministry with the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, is organizing the first conference for young adults who are military ministry leaders June 16-18 in Northbrook, Ill.
 
After the Given Forum, Bustamante considered the ways the conference itself could be a model for developing the military conference. She wanted to incorporate some of the training and tools she had received, such as a session on how to best engage with the press and media, led by Catholic Voices USA, whose mission is to articulate the Church's teaching in the public square.
 
"Some of the feedback that I've received from young adults is that it's a challenge to talk about the hot-button issues with their peers and among other military members because our society values are changing, and the military culture is not separate from that," she said.
 
Bustamante invited Catholic Voices USA to lead a session to encourage the servicemen to freely discuss Catholic issues.
 
Another attendee, Corynne Staresinic, 22, from Cincinnati, created a website called The Catholic Woman that features weekly letters and quarterly videos submitted by "women of all ages, backgrounds and vocations" to "illustrate the many faces and voices of Catholic women."
 
Staresinic, who graduated in May 2016 from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, said the idea for the project began after she read St. John Paul II's "Letter to Women" during her senior year. "That was the big game-changing moment in my life," Staresinic told Catholic News Service. The pope's letter, along with the diverse stories of the female speakers at the conference provided the model for The Catholic Woman's letters.
 
 
 

Against assisted suicide

By Greg Schleppenbach
 
The campaign to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide has been wisely rejected by most policymakers in our society.
 
Most people, regardless of religious affiliation, know that suicide is a terrible tragedy, one that a compassionate society should work to prevent. They realize that allowing doctors to prescribe the means for any of their patients to kill themselves is a corruption of the healing art.
 
But assisted suicide proponents like the deceptively named group “Compassion & Choices” have renewed their aggressive nationwide campaign through legislation, litigation and public advertising, targeting states they see as most susceptible to their message. So the battle against doctor-assisted suicide continues to rage on many fronts.
 
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. The assisted suicide campaign has since advanced to legalize the deadly practice in Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado and the District of Columbia.
 
Montana’s highest court, while not officially legalizing the practice, suggested in 2009 that it could be allowed under certain circumstances.
 
Assisted suicide advocates got similar legislation introduced in 27 states this year. Thankfully, many of these bills have been, or likely will be, defeated. But several states still face serious threats, including Hawaii, Maine, New York and New Jersey. They are also turning to courts to overturn laws banning the practice, with lawsuits pending in New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts.
 
The U.S. Congress was drawn into the debate when Washington, D.C.’s City Council passed a law legalizing assisted suicide in November 2016. Our Constitution gives Congress ultimate control over District laws and efforts to nullify are underway. But since Congress has not addressed assisted suicide for many years, members need basic education from constituents about why assisted suicide is dangerous for patients and their families.
 
Another battleground is in the medical profession itself. Long-held opposition to assisted suicide by medical associations has been essential to preserving laws against the practice. That is why C&C is infiltrating medical associations and urging them to abandon opposition and adopt a position of neutrality. The move to neutrality by medical associations in Oregon, Vermont and California helped pave the way for legalization of assisted suicide in those states. And now the American Medical Association is considering whether to change its decades-long position against assisted suicide to one of neutrality.
 
One way to counter the C&C effort is by asking our doctors their position on assisted suicide. If they oppose it, thank them for their stance and urge them to speak out against the practice with their medical associations, their state legislature and with Congress. If the answer is “support,” try to change their minds—and if they won’t, find a new doctor, letting your former doctor know why you left.
 
Euphemistic terms like “aid in dying” “compassion and choice” cloak the reality that assisted suicide is a deadly act: Doctors prescribing a lethal drug for suicide by overdose. Far from fostering compassion or choice, assisted suicide fosters discrimination by creating two classes of people: those whose suicides we work hard to prevent and those whose suicides we assist.
 
Evidence shows that legalizing assisted suicide can reduce access to quality end-of- life care, put pressure on patients and their families and open them up to abuses from insurance companies, among many other dangers. Your help is needed to expose these and other dangers. Equip yourself with fact sheets, videos and other resources available at usccb.org/toliveeachdaypatientsrightscouncil.org and patientsrightsaction.org.  
 
Greg Schleppenbach is associate director for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. To read the U.S. bishops’ 2011 policy statement on assisted suicide and related resources, visit usccb.org/toliveeachday.
 

'Pledge to End the Death Penalty'

Bishops attending a meeting were among the first to sign the National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty at the U.S. bishops' headquarters building May 9.
 
Each person taking the pledge promises to educate, advocate and pray for an end to capital punishment.
 
"All Christians and people of goodwill are thus called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also in order to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom," Pope Francis has said. This quotation kicks off the pledge.
 
The pledge drive is organized by the Catholic Mobilizing Network.
 
"The death penalty represents a failure of our society to fulfill the demands of human dignity, as evidenced by the 159 people and counting who have been exonerated due to their innocence since 1973," the organization says on the pledge sheet following space for someone's signature.
 
Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the network added, "The death penalty is not needed to maintain public safety, punishment must 'correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and (be) more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.'"
 
After capital punishment was halted nationwide briefly in the 1970s, more than 1,400 people have been executed since it resumed 40 years ago, according to the Catholic Mobilizing Network. "The prolonged nature of the death penalty process can perpetuate the trauma for victims' families and prevents the opportunity for healing and reconciliation called for in the message of Jesus Christ."
 
The idea for the pledge campaign took root in January, said Catholic Mobilizing Network executive director Karen Clifton in an interview with Catholic News Service, but Arkansas' bid to execute eight death-row prisoners in a 10-day span in April -- four were ultimately put to death -- "exacerbated the situation and showed it as a very live example of who we are executing and the reasons why the system is so broken," she said.
 
Penalties for crime are "supposed to be retributive, but also restorative. The death penalty is definitely not restorative," Clifton said. Those on death row are not the worst of the worst, they're the least -- the marginalized, the poor, those with improper (legal) counsel," she added.
 
Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said he and his fellow bishops have voiced their views strongly with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, where capital punishment is legal and where prisoners have been executed.
 
Bishop Dewane, in recalling Pope John Paul II's successful personal appeal to the governor of Missouri to spare a death-row inmate's life during the pope's visit to St. Louis in 1999, said the episode offers hope. "It's a great example," he added. "You never know how your words will be taken, or accepted."
 
Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, who was one of a number of bishops who signed the pledge following a daylong meeting May 9 at the U.S. bishops' headquarters building in Washington, said the Church's ministry to prisoners is another source of hope. "It's the ministry of companionship that's so important," he noted.
 
 
 

Supporting a friend when she’s unexpectedly expecting

   
I had been brought up to believe that life is always a gift, but it certainly didn’t feel like one when I gazed in shock at a positive pregnancy test. As a mom who had my first baby in college, I know that an unexpected pregnancy can sometimes bring fear, shame and doubt.
 
However, I also know that an unexpected pregnancy can bring joy, excitement, awe, gratitude and deeper love than I knew was possible. About nine months after looking at that pregnancy test, I received the very best gift I have ever been given: my daughter, Maria.* An unexpected pregnancy might be confusing along the way, but life -- though at times difficult -- is ultimately beautiful.
 
Perhaps one of your friends has become pregnant unexpectedly. As someone who has been there, I encourage you to support her in her new journey of being a mother; it’s important that she knows you are thinking of her and supporting her.
 
An unexpected pregnancy can send a woman into crisis mode. If your friend just found out she is pregnant, she may not be thinking clearly, and she may feel she has no control over anything at the moment. When a woman experiencing challenging circumstances confides she is pregnant, the reaction of the first person she tells tends to set the tone for her decision-making.
 
Avoid responding with shock or alarm, and be calm and understanding. Be aware of how she is responding to you. Listen to her and let her know you love her, you are there for her, and it’s going to be OK. Pay close attention to her emotional state, and act accordingly.
 
Depending on where she is emotionally, it may or may not be helpful to congratulate her at that time. However, it is always important to affirm that every person’s life—including her child’s and her own--is precious and beautiful no matter the circumstances.
 
Pay attention to what might make her feel most loved. One person might appreciate encouraging words, while another might feel more supported if you help with specific tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask her if she needs help with anything or to make specific offers to help. For example, you might offer to help with cleaning, finding a good doctor or running to the store to pick up the one food that won’t make her feel sick. (But remember to read her cues and make sure you’re not being overbearing.) Simple things -- letting her know that you care and are always ready to listen, that you are available to help her, that you are praying for her -- can give hope and courage when she might otherwise feel alone.
 
The most important thing, though, is to pray; it’s the most effective way we can help. Pray for her, for her child and for guidance in how you can give her the best possible support.
 
Your support might be the only support she receives. Even if we never know how, the smallest things we do can change someone’s life. You can make a difference in her life.
 
Will you?




 
* Name changed for privacy.
 
This issue of “Life Issues Forum” has been adapted and shortened from “10 Ways to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting,” originally published in the 2015-16 Respect Life Program. Visit bit.ly/10WaysRespectLife for the original version. A directory of pregnancy services can be found at heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide-directory.
 

Reactions to American Health Care Act vote

The American Health Care Act that passed by a four-vote margin May 4 in the House has "major defects," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Social Development.
 
"It is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," Bishop Dewane said in a May 4 statement. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act."
 
He added, "When the Senate takes up the AHCA, it must act decisively to remove the harmful proposals from the bill that will affect low-income people -- including immigrants -- as well as add vital conscience protections, or begin reform efforts anew. Our health care policy must honor all human life and dignity from conception to natural death, as well as defend the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of those who have any role in the health care system."
 
One of 20 Republicans to vote against the bill was Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
 
"I voted no on the AHCA largely because it cuts Medicaid funding by $839 billion; undercuts essential health benefits such as maternity care, newborn care, hospitalization and pediatric services; includes 'per capita caps' and weakens coverage for pre-existing health conditions -- all of which will hurt disabled persons, especially and including children and adults with autism, the elderly and the working poor," Smith said in a May 4 statement.
 
Those opposing the bill cited reductions in coverage and cost increases. Those favoring the bill cited its pro-life provisions.
 
 "Today's House vote marks the beginning of the end of the shell game Planned Parenthood plays with public money. That the American Health Care Act limits Medicaid funds to entities that don't kill people is entirely appropriate, not to mention a step that's long overdue," said a May 4 statement by Father Frank Pavone, national president of Priests for Life.
 
"Abortion is not health care, and in light of that -- this bill provides Hyde (Amendment)-like protections and redirects funding away from America's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, to community health centers that offer comprehensive women's care, and already outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by 20 to 1," said a May 4 statement by Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life.
 
"Over 2 million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. This new health care bill ensures that we are one step closer to getting the federal government entirely out of the business of subsidizing abortion," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, in a May 4 statement.
 
"Protecting Medicaid is a priority for the faith community. The 'fixes' made to the AHCA do nothing to change the fact that millions of low-income Americans will lose their health coverage," said a May 4 statement by the Rev. David Beckmann, a Lutheran minister who is president of Bread for the World, the anti-hunger lobby. "Medical bills often drive families, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, into hunger and poverty."
 
"We support efforts to strengthen and stabilize our nation's health care system and extend insurance coverage and protections," said Arthur C. Evans Jr., CEO of the American Psychological Association. "However, the American Health Care Act is not the answer. Accordingly, we call on the Senate to reject the bill due to its projected adverse impact on the well-being of our nation, particularly on individuals with mental health, behavioral and substance use disorders."
 
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