Health Care
Health Care

Everybody's Health Care Threatened if Catholic Bishops Win

| by Jon OBrien
WASHINGTON – If the Catholic bishops have their way, many medical treatments and preventative measures we take for granted may be under threat. The pressure that the US bishops have brought to bear on the debate over healthcare reform has been widely reported. An ad in this morning’s Washington Post warns of the likely impact if that pressure to influence healthcare policy is not curtailed.


Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, said, “The Catholic bishops used their political clout to influence politicians to vote for the Stupak-Pitts amendment, which would further restrict access to abortion for millions of women in the healthcare reform bill that passed the House. As Senators debate their version of the bill, they should remember that the 200 US bishops who oversee dioceses do not represent the views of all Catholics, nor even a majority. In fact, the majority of Catholics do not want their bishops to be involved in this political process at all.”


A recent poll by Catholics for Choice found that 68 percent of Catholic voters in the US disapprove of US bishops saying that all Catholics should oppose the entire healthcare reform plan if it includes coverage for abortion and 56 percent think the bishops should not take a position on healthcare reform legislation in Congress. In fact, only a small minority of Catholics, fewer than 15 percent, are in line with the bishops in believing that all abortion should be banned. The rest can see circumstances in which legal abortion is an acceptable, even essential, aspect of health care. (The full results of the poll are available on our Web site.)


O’Brien continued, “The bishops claim to speak on behalf on Catholics nationwide, but we know that the majority of American Catholics do not agree with the bishops rigid stance on reproductive health issues. Poll after poll shows the distance between American Catholics and the small group of bishops claiming to speak on their behalf.”


The ad shows the realities of the bishops’ campaign against women’s health and a bishop endorsed healthcare system which would include:

o No access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest

o No in-vitro fertilization

o No contraception

o No treatment for ectopic pregnancy

o No embryonic stem-cell research

o No respect for your advance medical directives


The ad urges voters to contact their members of Congress in support of the inclusion of coverage for abortion services in healthcare reform. O’Brien concluded, “Congress has listened to the bishops, now it is time for Congress to listen to American Catholics
who want comprehensive healthcare reform.”