The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a critical endorsement to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions.
“Passing this amendment allows the House to meet our criteria of preserving the existing protections against abortion funding in the new legislation,” the Bishops wrote in a letter to individual members. “Most importantly, it will ensure that no government funds will be used for abortion or health plans which include abortion.”
The group goes on to say, “The Conference will remain vigilant and involved through this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation. With this important step forward we hope the House can come together and finally move forward essential reform which truly will protect the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We also hope the Senate will follow the example of the House and include these essential safeguards in their version of health care reform legislation.”
Keeping tax dollars away from abortions certainly angers some, including our own Thomas Tallis. However staunchly pro-choice I am, I still understand and perceive the moral repugnance of the actual deed. I oppose restrictions on women’s rights, but that doesn’t translate into an entitlement of cash to do them. People have a say in how their tax dollars are spent, and I think ultimately it’s fair to grant people the right not to have their tax dollars spent on something they abhor so much. If that concession brings the Catholic Church on board with everything else, I think it’s a valid compromise that respects and balances everybody’s rights.
UPDATE: Comments thread has shifted my thoughts somewhat. When you look at the fine print, it’s a horrible deal that holds trillions of private dollars hostage. Can’t lose it fast enough, and it isn’t going to change anybody’s vote about the final bill.