Catholic Hospitals Back Senate Bill on Abortion

Support compromise bishops call 'morally unacceptable'
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2009 6:37 AM CST
Catholic Hospitals Back Senate Bill on Abortion
Demonstrators hold banner on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday,Nov. 5, 2009, during a Republican health Care reform rally.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

In a break from their holdout bishops, Catholic hospitals signaled this week that they they will support the abortion-financing provision in the Senate health reform bill passed on Christmas Eve. The Senate bill allows states to bar the use of federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion, and requires insurers in other states to separate subsidies from private funds, and use only the latter to pay for abortion. An organization of nuns also backed the compromise, which the bishops called “morally unacceptable.”

Catholic scholars say the split is based on a different interpretation of church doctrine against “cooperation with evil,” David Kirkpatrick writes at the New York Times: the Catholic hospitals see extending health insurance to millions of Americans as "both a moral and financial imperative, since like other hospitals they stand to gain from reducing the number of uninsured patients." Democrats hope the hospital's openness to the compromise will help break an impasse on the issue as the Senate and House bills are merged into a final bill.
(Read more Catholic hospitals stories.)

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