Friday, November 13, 2009
Keep Religious Doctrine Out of the Law
Urge Your Representatives to Reject Efforts Like the Stupak Amendment
After months of negotiations and compromise, the House of Representatives was set to vote on landmark healthcare reform legislation last week. But before the legislation could make it to the floor, Speaker Pelosi and a handful of anti-choice Members of Congress received some high-level phone calls from members of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
Pelosi's comprehensive healthcare legislation was abortion-neutral, thanks to a compromise amendment included in committee by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA). And when House Leadership heard objections from some anti-choice lawmakers that the Capps language was not strong enough, they were open to small additional compromises on language. But the Catholic bishops took things much further.
Demanding, in essence, a new ban on abortion coverage in any insurance plan participating in the new insurance "exchange," the Church hierarchy threatened to use its clout in Congress to derail the entire healthcare reform package unless its particular religious view was enshrined in the legislation. Thanks in large part to the extreme influence of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rep. Stupak's (D-MI) and Rep. Pitts' (R-PA) amendment was passed on the House floor, adding restrictions on access to abortion in the U.S. that are unprecedented and frightening.
For those of us who believe deeply that religion and government must function separately, these events are highly disturbing. As supporters of Americans United, you are well aware that the Constitution mandates a separation between church and state. Yet last week, we saw a new and upsetting development - the Catholic bishops have used their immense power to undermine constitutionally guaranteed rights.
This is unacceptable, and your lawmakers need to hear from you.
We simply cannot allow the interests of a politically powerful religious denomination to undermine the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to Americans of all faiths and none. Please contact your members of Congress to express your views on this issue!
Tell Your Representatives Not to Enshrine Religious Doctrine Into Law
Posted by Jim N at 10:38 PM