Bishop links illegal immigrant care, abortion
Several Catholic bishops in the United States have come out in favor of extending some form of health insurance to illegal immigrants. At least one now is linking the issue to abortion.
"If [health care reform] leaves out immigrants, it is doing what some people want it to do in terms of the unborn," Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., told the Catholic News Service.
"How can we say that we're a country of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all who come to our shores if we say, 'except the unborn.' Or, if we say, 'except the handicapped.' Or, if we say, 'except the new person,' asked Murphy, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "Then we have not lived up to the high ideal of our country. And we have introduced a sense of injustice into a plan that should be just for all."
As the CNS story notes, most U.S. bishops who have spoken publicly about health care reform "have expressed the opinion that one of the richest countries in the world should find a way to guarantee that everyone within its borders has access to medical care, from conception to natural death."
CNS quotes Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., on concerns among bishops that even legal immigrants might be left out of the system. Soto told CNS that reform "has to include at a minimum some kind of safety net for the undocumented," particularly if the goal of a nationwide health care reform plan is to improve the overall health of society.
"We realize it's a very contentious issue," Bishop Soto said. "But there has to be some kind of a safety net."