Catholic Church Aggressively Influencing Health Care Reform Legislation

The Roman Catholic Church worked aggressively to get a last-minute amendment added to the newly-passed House health care reform bill that specifically prohibits abortion coverage in insurance plans that receive funding from the federal government. The "Stupak-Pitts Amendment," named after Bart Stupak, (D-MI) and Bill Pitts (R-PA), who introduced it, prohibits both public and private insurance plans participating in the proposed government health insurance exchange from providing abortion coverage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops distributed talking points to priests around the country and gave fliers out to churches that carried the headline "Health Care Reform is About Saving Lives, Not Destroying Them." At least four representatives of the group also held private, last-minute meetings with lawmakers and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday and Saturday, just before the bill was passed. The National Organization of Women, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), are fighting inclusion of the amendment.