Friday, April 09, 2010


News of moral principle from LifeSiteNews:
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, April 9, 2010 ( - Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island has denounced the Catholic Health Association for supporting the abortion-laden federal health care reform law, and has asked that a local hospital be removed from membership in the group, reported ETWN Friday.
CHA, a for-profit trade association personally wooed by President Obama to support his health care overhaul, garnered heavy criticism from U.S. bishops for supporting the massive bill despite its lack of a ban on federal abortion funding – effectively making it the most pro-abortion piece of legislation since Roe v. Wade.

The CHA, which stands to profit from health care reform, in July 2009 had already pledged a large sum of money to the Obama administration to help ease passage of the overhaul, well before the final draft of the bill materialized.

Tobin told CHA director Sr. Carol Keehan in a March 29 letter that he was “very disappointed that the Catholic Health Association, under your leadership, publicly endorsed the recent health care legislation that was passed and signed into law.”
“This action was taken despite the fact that the legislation will very possibly provide additional public funding for abortion and threaten the freedom of conscience of Catholic individuals and institutions,” wrote the outspokenly pro-life bishop.


Mark Gordon said...

Bishop Tobin is my shepherd, and he is a wonderful bishop. I saw him most recently at last Saturday's march at an abortion clinic in Cranston. He isn't usually there, but last week he attended, which was a blessing.

On this issue, however, he is mistaken. LifeSite News calls the new bill " abortion-laden," but it's not, and repeating that falsehood over and over won't make it so. Even Bishop Tobin tacitly acknowledges that fact when he complains that the bill will "provide additional public funding for abortion." Possibly, yes, but only if a.) the executive order signed by Obama is rescinded, and b.) that recission is accompanied by additional legislation authorizing the use of federal funds for abortions at community health centers (CHA's), which is not now the case. I suspect that Bishop Tobin's real issue with the CHA is that it had the temerity to stake out a position at odds with the USCCB. Wasn't that you writing approvingly about subsidiarity recently, Gil?

Bishop Tobin's cathedral and chancery in Providence is located directly beside the headquarters of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which dominates the RI healthcare insurance market with 70% penetration. BC/BS not only covers abortions, but it pays for them out of general premium revenue, meaning that every single Rhode Islander who MUST use BC/BS to cover themselves and their families is contributing their personal money to pay for abortions. To my knowledge, Bishop Tobin has never protested this fact. He has never called on BC/BS to drop abortion coverage. He has never called for Catholics to drop BC/BS. He has never called for the local Catholic hospital to stop accepting Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Doughlas Remy said...

Bishop Tobin’s objection to the health care reform bill is that it lacks a ban on federal abortion funding. But there is already such a ban in the form of the Hyde Amendment, and on March 24, President Obama signed an executive order affirming that the Hyde Amendment would extend to the new bill.

Bishop Tobin may not feel that the Hyde Amendment goes far enough (it does allow funding for abortions in cases of rape, incest, and conditions that endanger the life of the pregnant woman). But why would he claim that the legislation “will [sic] very possibly provide additional public funding for abortion.” Why the future tense, as though the bill hadn’t already been signed?

Has the Bishop bought into Republican claims that the bill will—or may—provide taxpayer funding of abortions?

And why does your source,, describe the new bill as “the abortion-laden federal health care reform law”? This is patently untrue.

Here is what the Pulitzer-prize winning fact-checking website had to say about these vague and unsubstantiated claims:

It's understandable that abortion foes opposed a proposal that gives more people the opportunity to obtain insurance that cover abortions. But it's another thing to say those abortion services would be paid with federal dollars. The Senate bill states very clearly that public funding through tax credits and government subsidies for elective abortion services offered in the exchange is prohibited. But more than that, the bill sets up a mechanism to ensure that abortion services offered in the exchange are paid entirely from patient premiums, premiums paid by people who have chosen a private plan that covers abortion. The executive order puts the weight of the president's word behind providing a way to ensure two checks go to insurers every month, so that abortion dollars and federal dollars are not co-mingled.

We think that's enough to back up Stupak's claim that, "There will be no public funding for abortion in this legislation." But that's a conclusion we reached before the president promised an executive order, back when Stupak disagreed with us and insisted the bill would have had federal dollars subsidizing abortions. We don't understand how the executive order changes Stupak's logic on this issue, but no matter how he arrived as his conclusion, we think he's right now. And we rule his claim True.

The Catholic Health Association (CHA), which Bishop Tobin denounced, issued a statement in support of the health care reform bill on 3/21. It bears reading.

Gordon said...


Go read "The Stupak Mystery: why did he hold out for a meaningless executive order?" by Timothy Noah at SLATE. Don't miss the charming pro-aborts in the comboxes chortling over the stupid ant-choice Neanderthals being fooled into thinking the executive order could trump statute.