Weather Forecast


Aquila critical of health care reform legislation

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo criticized the recent health care overhaul legislation, saying it "allows for the violation of the sacredness of human life by the expansion of federal funding of abortion."

In a prepared statement, The Most Rev. Samuel Aquila also criticized the legislation for a lack of "clear support for conscience protection."

"These problems are ... grave and serious matters," Aquila wrote. "Thus, the votes on health care reform taken by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by the president have ignored the basic principles for a just society and contributed to the precipitous march of society towards a culture of death."

Aquila also wrote that "even in light of attempted remedies through executive orders and follow-up fix-it bills, this new ... law still allows federal funds from taxes to pay for elective abortions through community health centers and federal health plans."

But a statement on U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy's Web site announcing that the North Dakota congressional delegation would support the health care legislation states, "We have consistently voted against allowing federal funding to cover abortion. This bill does not allow federal funding to be used to cover abortion, and has been endorsed by the Catholic sisters and the Catholic Health Association."

Aquila criticized certain "so-called 'Catholic' " groups who supported the legislation, mentioning several by name, including Catholic Health.

"The actions of these groups have betrayed the common good, undermined the teaching authority of the Church, and have disregarded the courageous witness by the Bishops and the many millions of faithful Catholics to the gift and dignity of human life," he wrote.

Aquila wrote that the "Catholic Bishops of the United States of America have continually and faithfully called for greater access to health care. This is a noble goal which must be pursued; however, the defects of this new law are just too great to overlook."

Crookston Diocese Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who presides over the diocese in which Moorhead is located, was not available for comment.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734