Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Just Delivering the USCCBs Talking Points.

When I attended the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation's state conference last October, I was aghast at, well a lot of things, but also at the lengthy end-of-the-event presentation on what exactly "pro-life" advocates, church members, parish members (most attendees were Catholic), and seniors (most were seniors) could do to "raise awareness" of "pro-life" issues in their communities.

The presenter included a hand out that described what exactly tax-exempt organizations could or could not do according to the law. Attendees were encouraged to "profess their faith" by talking to teens, contacting local TV channels, by sending conference updates to weekly newspapers, and by writing letters to the editor. Various hand outs and web sites suggested language to use, basically putting press releases into hands of the following faithful that they could then send to their local newspaper.

I'm seeing a rash of these letters lately. You can recognize them by their structure and points, all discussed at the conference and in churches and parishes across the US. The "grass roots" organization of it all is impressive, if you can get past the imposition on patients' rights and blatant discrimination. Here's an example from Lower Hudson Valley paper that reads like a paraphrase of the USCCBs points:

We can debate whether the current health-care plans raise the deficit or lower it (by raising taxes), whether the country can afford these plans or whether they represent a government takeover of health care and the start of a new bureaucracy. But for Catholics, there are three deal breakers: issues that must cost our support.

The first is that no taxpayer money should be used to pay for abortions. This has been the law for many years. The bill's promoters have tried to switch fund sources, but a plan that is subsidized by "taxpayer money" cannot include abortion. Seventy percent of the public does not think that taxpayer money should pay for abortion.

The second is that a plan must have a conscience clause exemption. In the current plans, a doctor or nurse's nonparticipation in a medical procedure on conscience grounds could result in job loss.

The third is that the plan, as much as possible, must lead to access to health care for all people since it's a human right. How this is accomplished the government must decide.

Lastly, the Catholic bishops promote the idea of subsidiary problems if possible should be addressed by the most local organization possible. Local organizations can respond more quickly and know the situation better.

Everyone supports health-care reform, so let's hope these deal-breakers are avoided so we can discuss the details.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home