WASHINGTON, D.C. - Leaders of faith groups are calling for greater
religious respect in the often vociferous health care reform debate.
Heads of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and interfaith organizations are
standing together to voice support for diversity of religious views,
after the U.S. House version of health care reform legislation emerged
with language that would expand limits on health care coverage of
abortion, even in the private insurance market.
Reverend Carlton Veazey, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
does not believe it is right to impose one view on everyone when it
concerns an issue with so many different meanings, based in religion
and personal values. And, he points to polling that shows Americans
want to rise above that debate.
"They show significant support across religions for more moderate language to maintain the status quo."
Backers of the so-called "Stupak-Pitts" amendment say it simply
continues the tradition of not using taxpayer dollars to fund
abortions. But Linda Bales Todd, a director of The United Methodist Church
says a closer look shows the amendment would reach into the private
market, to set exclusions for a legal medical procedure now routinely
covered by insurance.
"Measures like this effectively limit access and delivery of reproductive health care based on one, narrow religious doctrine."
Nine out of ten voters in a recent Mellman Group survey said they do
not want abortion views to bog down the progress on health care reform.
Forty denominations and religious organizations have joined the call
for respect of differing views as the debate continues.
The Mellman Group survey was conducted in late August, polling 1,000 likely voters. The results are online, at http://mfw.bridgelinesw.com