That’s the opinion of Deal Hudson, whose article I excerpt below:
Catholic Bishops Must Change Health Care Strategy Before It’s Too Late
by Deal W. Hudson
The lobbying strategy of the Catholic bishops in the health-care debate thus far has been one of qualified support. We support the health-care reform bill, the bishops argue, as long as it does not contain abortion funding and provides conscience protection for health-care workers.
The only help the bishops have received in their effort is from Catholic Democrat Bart Stupak, whose coalition of pro-life House Democrats is the only hope of either killing the bill or eliminating its abortion funding.
The bishops have made no headway with the Democratic leadership in Congress, including the Catholic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Catholic Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius — both of whom lied about the presence of abortion funding in the Senate version of the bill.
It should be clear to the bishops and their staff at the USCCB that there is no good will in either the Congress or the White House toward their concerns about abortion funding and conscience protections.
It’s time for a change of strategy before it’s too late. None of the Democratic leadership in control of this legislation has the least interest in keeping abortion funding out of the bill. Instead, they hope that by keeping the bishops in the posture of qualified support, the prospect of an outcry from grassroots Catholics will be postponed until after the bill is pushed through by some sort of legislative sleight of hand.
By the time the bishops can restart another national postcard campaign, health-care reform with abortion funding will be a fait accompli.
As I have consistently argued, even if (by some miracle) the health-care bill was passed without abortion funding, the increased government control over health-care services would lead, inevitably, to mandated abortion funding, as abortion advocates would then take the matter to the courts to finish the job. That the bishops don’t seem to recognize this inevitability — publicly, anyway — is disappointing.
The strategy of qualified support is risky, because it means that Congress and the White House are not hearing the fury that is building at the grassroots level among Catholics. I suspect they are also not hearing about the growing distrust and impatience of many bishops toward this process.