Tyrant State? Nelson - Hatch - Casey Pro-Life Amendment Rejected in U.S. Senate

 

Deacon Keith Fournier

 
  12/9/2009
  WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – In his prophetic Encyclical Letter entitled the “Gospel of Life” the late Servant of God John Paul II warned of what happens at the “…level of politics and government…” when “…the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority”.

He could have been commenting on what occurred in the US Senate Tuesday, December 8, 2009. He warned that “… democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part”.

The late Pope continued, “The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations”

He asked the question which must now be asked in the United States of America: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others are denied that dignity?"

What is called the “Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment” to the Senate Health Care Reform Bill was defeated Tuesday by a vote of 54 to 45. The Senate voted to table it, effectively ending the effort. If passed, it would have protected against the coerced use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. It was similar to the Pro-Life “Stupak Amendment” which was included in the House Version of the Health Reform Bill.

The Senate has now opened the door to the killing of children in the womb with Federal Tax Dollars. The late Pope warned of such tyranny noting that “When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun. To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom.” (See, Evangelium Vitae, Paragraphs #19,20)

The United States Catholic Bishops tried to protect our youngest neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, their mother’s womb. They insisted that the Senate pass the “Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment” to the Senate Health Care Reform Bill and lobbied for it. They asked all Catholics to help do everything possible to ensure that the amendment was passed. Sadly, the proponents of abortion on demand appear to have succeeded. The use of Federal Tax dollars to fund the taking of innocent human life through surgical strikes and chemical weapons in a continuing war on the womb may soon become "law". As the Bishops said when they began their courageous campaign “Abortion is not Health care because Killing is not healing." A majority of Senators do not seem to care.

The kinds of specious arguments which occurred in the floor debate are appalling. Senator Barbara Boxer compared the noble effort of Pro-Life Senator Ben Nelson to prevent Federal Funds being used to kill children with men being able to purchase Viagra saying, “The men who have brought us this [amendment] don’t single out a procedure that is used by a man, or a drug that is used by a man, that involves his reproductive health care, and say they have to get a special rider.”

It is time for Catholic Action. Every US Senator must hear from us. We must insist that there is no room for “negotiation” when it comes to the use of Federal Tax dollars for the taking of innocent human life. Failure to amend this Bill will require that any proposed “Health Care Reform” be opposed by every American who knows that the child in the womb is our first neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill our neighbor. We cannot cooperate in material evil by allowing our tax dollars to be used to kill children.

The letter written by the US Bishops was received in the office of every Senator on December 7, 2009. It articlualtes the issue with crystal clarity. It was signed by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chair of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the bishops' Committee on Migration. Here is the text:

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Dear Senator:

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we strongly urge the Senate to adopt essential changes to the health care reform bill to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all. Therefore we urgently ask you to support an essential amendment to be offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) to keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of health coverage that includes elective abortions.

Sadly, the current Senate bill fails to keep in place the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions or health plans that include elective abortions -- a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program -- and now in the House-passed "Affordable Health Care for America Act." We believe legislation that violates this moral principle is not true health care reform and must be amended to reflect the Hyde restrictions. If that fails, the current legislation should be opposed.

This amendment will have the same effect as the Stupak-Pitts-Ellsworth-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Smith-Lipinski Amendment already accepted in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority (see attached fact sheet). Like that amendment, it does not change the current situation in our country: Abortion is legal and available, but no federal dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that include elective abortions. This amendment does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people's abortions.

The bill currently before the Senate allows the HHS Secretary to mandate abortion coverage throughout the government-run "community health insurance option." It also provides funding for other plans that cover unlimited abortions, and creates an unprecedented mandatory "abortion surcharge" in such plans that will require pro-life purchasers to pay directly and explicitly for other people's abortions. The bill does not maintain essential nondiscrimination protections for providers who decline involvement in abortion. The Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment simply corrects these grave departures from current federal policy.

We urge the Senate to support the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment. As other amendments are offered to the bill that address our priorities on conscience protection, affordability and fair treatment of immigrants, we will continue to communicate our positions on these issues to the Senate. The Catholic bishops have long supported adequate and affordable health care for all. As pastors and teachers, we believe genuine health care reform must protect human life and dignity, not threaten them, especially for the most voiceless and vulnerable. We believe health care legislation must respect the consciences of providers, taxpayers, and others, not violate them. We believe universal coverage should be truly universal, not deny health care to those in need because of their condition, age, where they come from or when they arrive here. Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority.

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The majority of the Senate did not listen to the Bishops. By defeating this Amendment which would have prevented tax dollars from being used for abortions they effectively decided to spend Federal Tax Dollars to kill children. The “blood money” will be coercively extracted from every American - unless we can prevent this from occurring.

If this amendment - or one identical to it - is not inserted as the legislation winds its way through the process then every Pro-Life American must vocally and strenuously oppose the entire Health Care Reform Effort. We cannot cooperate in a moral evil such as the federally funded dismembering or burning to death of our youngest neighbors. We may be witnessing the emergence of a “Tyrant State.” It is time for Catholic Action.