WASHINGTON – The U.S. bishops again have urged U.S. senators to put Hyde amendment language into proposed health care reform legislation to prohibit federal funds from being used for elective abortion coverage.
Such a step, they said, would align the legislation with policies now governing all other federal health programs and the just-passed appropriations bill.
The bishops urged the action in a Dec. 14 letter from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The bishops noted that senators voted overwhelmingly Dec. 13 for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contains Hyde language banning federal funding for health coverage that includes elective abortion and maintains laws protecting conscience rights.
A major problem with the current health care reform legislation in the Senate, Cardinal DiNardo’s letter said, is that “it explicitly authorizes the use of federal funds to subsidize health plans covering elective abortions for the first time in history.”
On Dec. 8 the Senate rejected a bipartisan abortion amendment to its version of health care reform legislation.
The bishops said their three top priorities for health reform are respecting life and conscience, ensuring affordability and giving immigrants fair access to health benefits for which they pay taxes.