Skip to comments.Health Care and the Power of the Bishops' Conference
Posted on 11/08/2009 4:39:12 PM PST by Salvation
|Health Care and the Power of the Bishops' Conference|
|Saturday, November 07, 2009
|Just a few minutes ago the Stupak amendment which restricts the funding of abortion in the House Health Care Reform bill, passed handily. Staffers in several congressional offices on both sides of the aisle tell me that it was the Bishops Conference opposition to any bill without a pro-life amendment that forced the hand of House leaders. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, late last night, reluctantly allowed the Stupak amendment to come before the entire House of Representatives. The amendment, which forbids using federal funds to pay for abortions via public or private health plans was approved this evening by a vote of 240-194. Many Democrats on the left were not happy.
What this demonstrates is the power of the Bishops Conference when its sets its mind to something. Unfortunately, they set the bar too low. They should have pushed for the full Catholic agenda on this bill. The Democrat leadership now knows how to roll the Conference, and how to pacify it.
The Bishops other demands: conscience clauses for medical workers and coverage for immigrants have been virtually ignored in the bill. And though nearly 50 bishops raised the issue of subsidiarity (a core tenet of the Church's social doctrine which teaches that decisions are best made at the lowest level), the Bishops Conference made no mention of this in any of its letters or public statements. There was also no mention of the rationing mechanisms in the bill that will very likely hit the frail elderly as well as the poor. The zeal of the staff to get a Universal Health Care Bill passed (any Universal Health Care Bill) overwhelmed even the cries of the bishops themselves. So the staff drove but one stake in the ground on Capitol Hill: the abortion stake.
The victory the Bishop's Conference enjoyed with the Stupak amendment may be short lived since the hard won pro-life language will very likely be scrubbed from the final plan. Assuming the Senate passes its Health Care legislation, both bills (the House and Senate versions) must be reconciled in "conference committee." Tonight, Democratic California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said of the Stupak Amendment: "I feel certain it will come out of the bill before it comes back from committee. I will insist that it come out." She is not alone.
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I agree, Raymond! Too low of a bar.
**The victory the Bishop’s Conference enjoyed with the Stupak amendment may be short lived since the hard won pro-life language will very likely be scrubbed from the final plan. **
All I can say is that’s been the scuttlebutt on all the Sunday talk shows. Specifically Pelosi reassure her PRO-LIFE folks that they can take that pesky little bit about no federal money for abortion out of the bill in conference.
Pelosi lying, well imagine that.
Why should we pay for abortions. USE BIRTH CONTROL!
Just a thought.
This same language was in the Kansas bill that actually permits 3rd term abortions.
I fear they may just define pregnancy as a physical disorder.
After extensive discussion, we made the CMA's Resolution on Health Care Reform top priority the principle of subsidiarity.
Unfortunately, the Stupak amendment became a cynical way for at risk democrats in conservative districts to cover themselves for 2010.
Arroyo is correct, they didn’t even put protections in for the elderly.
More importantly, this was a governmental ruse to get it passed. Unless a conservative filibusters the Senate, they will pass a compromise package in the Senate.
When the bill goes to Conference, the trains has left the station. The machinations of Congress will demand a bill. They will do whatever they have to do to pass a bill.
The ignorant-of-government Bishops will be long forgotten.
They may or may not get abortions language in the final bill, but it won’t be due to the Bishops, it will be based on the pork that key members gets for their vested interests.
This is why I feel the Bishops should be concentrating on saving souls and not the evil machinations of government.
I wasn’t aware of the physical disorders. I have a grandchild with Down Syndrome. I am so happy about the way s/he enjoys life!
Salvation, I will see if I can find the text.
However effective or ineffective they may be the bishops have a responsibility to speak out in matters of morals facing their flock and its civil government. In fact, this is one of the ways in which they work to save souls.
This idea dates back to at least the 5th century when Pope Gelasius I proposed that the Church has two swords to wield, one with regard to the spiritual order and the other in regard to the temporal order when it comes to moral matters.
The history in the intervening 1500 years has been fascinating.
The Amendment says no funds may be used to fund abortion or any health care plan that includes abortion unless there is a physical disorder, physical injury or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
This certainly sounds like a strong prohibition, except for the rape or incest clause. Usually Democrats try to leave a huge loophole by sticking in an exception for “mother’s health.” This could be interpreted to include mental health. Under the The Mental Health Parity Act most of the distinctions insurance companies can make between mental health and physical health have been removed. At first glance, this loophole seems to be be missing from the Stupak Amendment. That is until you look up the definition of “physical disorder.” A physical disorder (as a medical term) is often used as a term in contrast to a mental disorder, in an attempt to differentiate medical disorders.
That sounds like the primary concern would be for the mother’s health rather than the physical disorder of the child.
A physical disorder (as a medical term) is often used as a term in contrast to a mental disorder, in an attempt to differentiate medical disorders which have an available objective mechanical test (such as chemical tests or brain scans), from those disorders which have no objective laboratory or imaging test, and are diagnosed only by behavioral syndrome (such as those in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM manual. Most familiarly, this is a term used as opposed to supposed “purely” mental disorders.
This looks like a back door to the old mental health abortion loophole when the “mother’s health” term is used. Many people claim there is no distinction between physical and mental disorders. There is already a court ruling defining bipolar as a physical disorder and not a mental illness.
The Case: Fitts v. Fannie Mae
The ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia involves an employee of a major mortgage company who developed bipolar disorder and whose employee disability insurance provider stopped paying disability benefits after 24 months on the grounds of bipolar disorder being a mental illness. The policy provided cover until the age of 65 for physical disability. Ms. Fitts had worked for the company for 13 years before she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. The employee- Ms. Jane Fitts, successfully brought a case against both the employer and the insurer arguing that bipolar disorder did not clearly fall in the category mental, emotional or nervous diseases or disorders of any type. The court awarded prejudgment interest on all sums due her and the costs of this action .
Based on the language of the Stupak Amendment and the above court ruling, a suicidal woman diagnosed as bipolar could qualify for abortion funds under H.R.3962. Democrats only need to get a liberal judge to issue more court rulings defining depression and other mental health problems as physical disorders. Then, the abortion floodgate is open. This is a loophole you can run a herd of donkeys through. There is even the possibility the abortion restriction would be declared as unconstitutional even if abortion coverage doesn’t get added back in later. Partial birth abortion laws have already been declared unconstitutional if they don’t include the “mother’s health” loophole.
The back door to mental health makes sense.
Certainly a Comment. The Bishops got rooked.
The abortions will be paid for. One way or the other.
“...the bishops have a responsibility to speak out in matters of morals facing their flock and its civil government. In fact, this is one of the ways in which they work to save souls.”
Speaking out in matters of morals is one matter. Endorsing legislation on healthcare, global warming and other matters is a few bridges too far imo. I don’t see why they can’t speak out on life, the elderly, poverty, the sick, without reaching into the machinations of government.
Further, the Church has been equivocating government cures on health, poverty, illegal immigration, etc., which can be a slippery slope into the liberation theology which tainted the Church.
Espcially when so many of the flock are lost on more central issues, such as the Eucharist and salvation.
Are you saying that you think the Hyde Amendment will be nullified?
I don’t think that will happen. All parishes (at least mine did) hace requests for action from Catholics on this matter. Notice I said Catholics and not CINOs.
to read later
No endorsement him. The Catholic Bishops are speaking out on abortion only.
No endorsement here. The Catholic Bishops are speaking out on abortion only.
Sigh.....the fingers go faster than the brain sometimes!
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