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by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com
The nation’s Catholic bishops are so upset about taxpayer funding of abortions in Obamacare they are urging a shutdown of the federal government so the issue can be addressed.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a letter to members of Congress advocating adding language to the “must-pass funding legislation” such as the continuing resolution Congress is expected to approve soon to fund the federal government until the next session of Congress that would stop abortion funding under Obamacare. If such language is not approve, the bishops say members of Congress should balk at approving the continuing resolution and just let the government shut down.
Part of the reason for the demand is because of what’s happening in California.
To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical abortions immediately. Even churches are not exempt from funding abortions.
“Forcing a church to be party to elective abortion is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans. No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money.”
Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit for a number of churches.
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CNS News has more on what the USCCB is seeking by the December 11 deadline:
The bishops sent a letter Monday asking Congress to incorporate “without delay” in must-pass legislation the protections of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) into must-pass legislation, such as the continuing resolution.
The letter was signed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, chair of USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who is chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.
The bishops cited recent demands by California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) that “all health plans under its jurisdiction include elective abortions, including late-term abortions,” with no religious or moral exemptions allowed.
They brought up the emergence of similar proposals in Washington and other states, emphasizing “the increasingly urgent need for Congress to protect rights of conscience with regard to the taking of innocent human life.”
The California DMHC’s demands violate existing federal law, they noted, citing the longstanding Weldon Amendment, approved by Congress every year since 2004, which “forbids governmental bodies receiving federal funds from discriminating against those who decline to take part in abortion or abortion coverage.”
However, the bishops pointed out that the Weldon Amendment lacks an effective means of enforcement and has been subject to legal challenges as “its only stated penalty is the withdrawal of all Labor/HHS funds from a governmental body – a penalty California officials believe is subject to legal challenge and is too sweeping to ever be invoked.”
“The solution to this problem is legislation already approved by the House as long ago as 2002, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA),” the bishops conclude.