Obama Health Bill (1)
Babette Francis has been a strong supporter of pro-life action for many years, hence I was interested in her article in the May AD2000.
In the negotiations over the Obama Health Bill, I understand that the pro-life Senators achieved a victory. This was lost in media coverage in Australia, and perhaps also in the United States.
I understand that Professor Stephen Schneck of the Catholic University of America has said, "After long and careful analysis, I am confident that history will prove this Health Care Bill is the most effective pro-life legislation ever crafted".
The American religious sisters who supported the Obama Health Bill did so only after long negotiations by the pro-life Senators ensured that "no federal funds would be used to procure abortions or to fund plans that cover abortion". The bill was passed only after President Obama agreed to an executive order regarding the restrictions on abortion funding in the bill to ensure that its provisions are kept.
There are other important provisions in the Heath Bill that hopefully will help the large numbers of working poor and homeless in the USA.
For our part in Australia, we also need to support efforts to help families in need, and especially the pro-life work for women facing "crisis pregnancies".
SR ROSE MARY KINNE OP Dominican Sisters
Beverly Hills, NSW
Obama Health Bill (2)
Sr Rose Mary Kinne OP is mistaken in her understanding that pro-life US Senators achieved a victory in excluding abortion funding from President Obama's Health Care Bill.
Republican pro-life Senators did not have the numbers in the Senate, which rejected the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the Bill, an Amendment which did exclude abortion funding and which had been passed in the House of Representatives.
The Senate Bill which was passed was much weaker and allowed various loopholes for abortion funding, which was why it was opposed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and all pro-life organisations who, incidentally, have had political experience in analysing the impact of such legislation in practice.
When the Senate version of "Obamacare" was sent back to the House, Bart Stupak and other pro-life Democrats held out for quite some time, knowing that the Senate version did allow abortion funding. However, in the end most of them caved in when Obama promised an executive order to restrict abortion funding.
It should be noted that Obama's Executive Order has yet to be issued, and that several states have been concerned enough to pass Bills to eliminate abortion funding under Obamacare, which besides allowing abortion funding has other moral implications in regard to IVF, sterilisation, conscience rights, etc.
As recently as last month, Cardinal George of Chicago criticised the Catholic Health Association for providing the cover for so-called pro-life Democrats in the House to pass Obama's Health Bill.
Furthermore, a broad coalition of pro-life Democrats and Republicans has now introduced the "Protect Life Act," a new bill that would remove all abortion funding from the healthcare law. The bill would also create critical conscience protections for doctors and health care workers.
It will be interesting to see how vigorously Sister Carol Keehan and the CHA support this new Bill.