I am writing to encourage your support of comprehensive health care reform in our nation.
As you know, for many years the Bishops of the United States have been consistent advocates for this cause. As the Bishops wrote in their 2007 document, Faithful Citizenship, “Affordable and accessible health care is an essential safeguard of human life and a fundamental right. With an estimated 47 million Americans lacking health care coverage, it is also an urgent national priority.”
While our nation pursues this important, yet elusive goal, I also urge you to oppose any health care reform legislation that diminishes human dignity or threatens the right to life. In particular, morally acceptable health care reform:
• Must not provide for abortion services or the funding of abortion through any means; no health care policy should require citizens to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through direct government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion in insurance plans;
• Must not result in a rationing of health care or denial of treatment, especially if it puts senior citizens or disabled persons at risk;
• Must respect individual freedom of conscience, so that health care workers are protected from having to participate in procedures they deem to be morally abhorrent.
I know that the members of Congress are working very hard to craft legislation that will lead to the reform of the health care system in the United States, and I commend you for your commitment to this cause. You can certainly count on the widespread support of the Catholic community, but only if the complementary values of human dignity and respect for human life are carefully preserved in the law of our land.
With personal best wishes and my prayers for God’s blessings, I remain,
Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence