Saturday, October 31, 2009

Health Care Reform, or 'Who Needs a Conscience? This is Medicine!'

You may find something from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in your church bulletin this Sunday. The American Bishops are trying to make it possible for people to both follow their conscience and keep their jobs. Or, standing in the way of an enlightened policy of state-sponsored health care.

How you see the bishops' action depends on what you think is real.

From the USCCB:
"...'Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them,' the insert states. It urges readers to contact Senate leaders so they support efforts to 'incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights' in health reform legislation.

" 'If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed,' it adds.

"The insert highlights the Stupak Amendment from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) that, it states, 'addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights.'..."
The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) supports the USCCB action.
"...Not only should taxpayers not be required to pay for immoral procedures, but provisions also must exist to prohibit mandates on providers. Excluding such provisions is contrary to the integrity of a free and pluralistic society. The NCBC believes that immoral mandates will be imposed if there is no explicit conscience provision, especially in the presence of a public option..."

"...The Stupak Amendment...if adopted would address essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights in the House version of the health care reform bill..."

"...For more information go to Parishes across the country will be invited to make use of educational materials, including a web address that allows parishioners to send an e-mail message to Congress with a click of a button.

"The bishops have asked for swift action in contacting congressional members through e-mail, phone calls or faxed letters. To take action go to Our country is at a crossroads, not only in terms how our most vulnerable members will be treated, but also in terms of the future of conscience protections. ..."
The vote could come in early November, so if anything is going to be done, it needs to be done soon. I'm glad to have the option of emailing - it's a whole lot easier, and makes it more likely that I'll get the message off.

That "To take action go to" link takes you to a page on the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment website. You'll find links to information about "Conscience Problems in Health Care Reform Bills," "Current Policy on Federal Abortion Funding," and "What is the Legal Status Quo on Abortion?" - and a parish bulletin insert in English and in Spanish. Also links to letters and other documents.

Action Alert from the National Committee for A Human Life Amendment, October 30, 2009

The problem with 'health care reform' is that "...None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care...." (National Committee for A Human Life Amendment)

This link takes you to a page on the National Committee for A Human Life Amendment website, with information and a "send e-mail to Congress" button:

The NCBC has information about the "Stupak Funding Amendment to H.R. 3200 (7/31/2009)" at, the "Stupak Conscience Amendment to H.R. 3200 (7/31/2009)" at, and other legislative information. on that Health Care Reform page, too.

I clicked that "send e-mail to Congress" button on the Action Alert page, decided to use what they'd written with no additions, and filled in the "User Information" so that the system would know which members of Congress represent me.

The system worked, apparently, and sent emails to the offices of Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken and Representative Collin Peterson: all from Minnesota.

That didn't take long, and was pretty easy.

No pressure, but if you think letting people follow their conscience is a good idea: this is about as easy a way of supporting that belief as you'll find.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.