In letters to Congress, both Bishop William F. Murphy, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed strong but qualified support for reforming our health care system. This is a position the bishops have taken for decades in support of the uninsured and calling on access to health care as a matter of justice. While both include reservations about the proposed reforms consistent with church teaching on life issues, they do not imply any desire to defeat the current effort.
How does the press manage to portray abortion as the only issue Catholics are concerned about? To suggest that the issue of abortion will deny Catholic support for health care reform and undermine our country’s desire for needed reform flies in the face of Catholic support for equitable access to health care as a matter of justice. Given that our current system leaves 47 million American citizens without health insurance, denies coverage or benefits to those with “pre-existing conditions” and charges the rest of us who are insured with ever-escalating premium and co-pay costs flies in the face of justice. To use the abortion issue to politicize what is a moral issue is a distortion incompatible to all of us who believe that all Americans have the right to health care.