Catholic Church and health care reform

I certainly get that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church wants the health care reform bill to subsidize abortions as little as possible.  Fair point.  What is beyond ridiculous is that based on this "pro-life" opposition they are willing to kill the whole effort that, no matter the flaws, will bring health insurance to millions more Americans and thus indisputably save lives.  Actually, I bet a little number crunching would likely find that extending health insurance saves far more lives than subsidizing insurance for the working poor leads to abortions.   Even with coverage, most people do not seem to want to put an abortion on their health insurance.   I find this infuriating:

Instead of staying neutral or remaining quiet about their concerns, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a grassroots campaign to oppose health reform,
sending out bulletin inserts and fliers to every diocese in the country
and urging priests to speak out from the pulpit last Sunday. In
addition, every bishop was urged to contact the congressional members
in their diocese and insist that they vote against health reform. 

It's almost as if they Catholic Church has entirely turned its back on its history of concern for social justice and is becoming little more than an arm of the Republican party. And now that they've gotten their way are they going to fight to ensure that million more Americans will have health insurance?  No!  From Yglesias:

Even if no House Republicans could be persuaded to vote “yes” then
surely single-issue anti-abortion activists will support it, right?
Wrong! With the exception of Democrats for Life, pro-life organizations
are praising Stupak but denouncing the bill anyway, citing imaginary provisions to euthanize seniors. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent out a press release urging passage of the Stupak amendment, but no release urging passage of the amended bill. 

Pathetic.  Maybe it's time for me to join one of those renegade Episcopal churches the Catholic church wants to suck up.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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