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Catholic Health Association Backtracks On Senate Bill

By Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D.
December 29th, 2009
Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)

LifeNews.com is reporting that the Catholic Health Association does not endorse the Senate health care bill and the abortion language crafted by Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA).

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside Catholic) - In an interview with Catholic News Service, CHA president, Sr. Carol Keehan, explained, ‘The Catholic Health Association has not endorsed the health legislation that was passed by the Senate . . . . nor did it endorse the Casey compromise language that was later opposed by the bishops’ conference.”

Keehan is backtracking from a previous position at odds with the expressed position of the USCCB, which received a great deal of attention over the past few days as the result of a New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick, “Catholic Group Supports Senate on Abortion Aid.”

Here is more of Keehan’s backtracking -- she was obviously upset with the NYT’s story:

“There is not a shred of disagreement between CHA and the bishops,” Sister Carol said. “We believe there is a great possibility and probability that in conference committee we can work toward a solution that will prevent federal funding of abortion.”

She told CNS that CHA, representing over 600 Catholic hospitals, ‘brings a lot of expertise with funding structures in the marketplace’ to the debate and hopes to ‘bring that to bear’ during the conference committee process.

“I felt they [the Senate] were making progress and were getting where we needed to be,” she said. “I understand that it doesn’t make a good story to say (CHA and the USCCB) are working together. But it would have been an honest story.”

Who’s being honest here? Sister Keehan’s statement on December 17 contained the following:

“[N]ow that a public health insurance option is no longer on the table, we are increasingly confident that Senator Casey’s language can achieve the objective of no federal funding for abortion. . . . It is our understanding that the language now being written would prohibit federal funding of abortion,” Keehan said.

The problem for Keehan is that the only groups who agreed with her view of the Senate bill were Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Catholic Democrats. They are all organizations that have repeatedly demonstrated their allegiance to the Democratic Party and the Obama White House by subordinating the non-negotiable life issues to political success.

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