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Published April 09, 2010, 12:00 AM

Bishop distorts what’s in the law

Every Christmas and Easter when I attend services with my elderly parents, I witness their sincere commitment to the Catholic Church and its teachings.

By: Greg Hodur, Fargo

Every Christmas and Easter when I attend services with my elderly parents, I witness their sincere commitment to the Catholic Church and its teachings. Inevitably, our discussion turns to their disappointment that I and most of the younger members of our family don’t share their faith in and adherence to the church.

This year, thanks to Bishop Samuel Aquila’s position on the health reform law passed by Congress, I think I will have a better shot at making them understand why, despite 12 years of education in the parochial school system in my hometown, I am comfortable being a lapsed Catholic.

Quite simply, I am going to explain that I am no longer a Catholic because the good priests and nuns who taught me convinced me that God is not a one-issue voter. Yet that, apparently, is what Aquila would have us believe.

I am in no position, either theologically or historically, to argue with Aquila about what the church’s position on abortion was, is or should be. But as a lawyer, I am quite sure that, based on the text of the health reform law, the legislative history and subsequent measures designed to assuage any doubt about the issue, his assertion that the new law expands federal funding for abortion is just plain wrong.

The most Aquila could accurately claim is that the law maintains the status quo prohibiting federal funding for abortion that has been the law since enactment of the Hyde Amendment.

Maybe for Aquila and other anti-choice ideologues, that’s not good enough. But for him to distort what’s in the law, and in the process arrogantly dismiss the opinions of the Catholic nuns, hospital administrators and other providers who recognize the good it will do for the sick and less fortunate in our society, seems especially unfitting during this Easter season, even to an ex-Catholic like me.

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