Bishop Conlon Statement April 10

Statement from Bishop R. Daniel Conlon
on health Care Legislation


    STEUBENVILLE — By action of the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama, our nation has new, extensive health care legislation. For large numbers of Americans currently without health insurance, the legislation is good news. For some children in the womb, the legislation is potentially deadly.
    The Catholic bishops of the United States have long supported comprehensive health care reform, especially one that benefits those who have no access to health care, because basic medical care is a human right. We have not tried to specify how that objective should be achieved, and we understand that people will differ on the means.
    Thus, looking at the current legislation in strictly moral terms alone, we find certain deficiencies that require remedy.
    First, airtight protection for the unborn is needed in the form of Hyde or Stupak amendment language. The current legislation and the accompanying executive order are insufficient to prevent the use of tax monies to pay for abortions.
    Second, health care institutions and health care workers should be provided the right to decline to engage in medical practices they deem immoral. The more taxes are involved in paying for health services, the greater will be the pressure to provide whatever the patient wants.
    Third, as more uninsured citizens are covered, some provision must be made for undocumented immigrants. Regardless of a person’s legal status, no one, particularly a child or pregnant woman, should be denied basic medical care.
    I encourage the Catholics of the Diocese of Steubenville to work actively and pray for these remedies. I also ask that people behave in a civil and respectful way in presenting their views and in receiving the views of others.