Immigration reform was all but dead. As the debate on health care reform kicked into high gear this summer and early fall, immigration disappeared from the political debate. But if reform of one broken system (immigration) moved off legislators’ dockets in favor of another (health care), the United States bishops brought the issues together last week. In a letter to U.S. senators co-authored by Cardinal Rigali, three bishops representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for justice for the unborn, the poor and the immigrant in health reform legislation.
It was not the first time nor will it be the last that Catholic bishops state publicly the Church’s opposition to public abortion funding and mandated abortion coverage, and her insistence that conscience protections for health care workers be included in a final reform bill.
At the same time the bishops called for justice for immigrants, including provisions to “safeguard the health of immigrants, their children and all of society.” Various proposals call for access to health care for documented and undocumented people, especially pregnant women.
Finally, the bishops called for a system that offers poor people affordable health care, which they called “not a privilege, but a right.”
Comprehensive immigration reform might not be accomplished this year or even next, but it cannot be forgotten. The Church in the United States keeps the issue in the public mind because she cares for the people of God in this country – all people, regardless of race, creed or origin – both in spirit and in body. It is a matter of justice for all people, part of the mission of the Church to safeguard human life and dignity, the precious gifts of God.
Health care reform concerns the rich and the poor, the sick and those in good health today; those with medical coverage and those without; those who speak forcefully on this issue and especially those without a voice – the innocent and defenseless.
It remains unclear as of this writing what shape health reform legislation will take, if it happens at all. The Church never fails to remind policy makers to respect human life and dignity by crafting a plan that protects unborn life and cares for the health of the immigrant and the poor.
“Health care choices are not just political, technical or economic, but also moral,” the bishops told the senators. Congress must be sure that a final bill truly reforms health care by reflecting a vision of justice for all that the Church consistently communicates to society.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103