The amendments by Sen. Orrin Hatch that would ban abortion funding in the health care bill and ensure conscience rights protections for health care workers were defeated today by a margin of 13-10. Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed its implications:

The Democrats are on a collision course with the nation’s bishops, and the Catholic faithful in general. They cannot expect Catholics to pay for child abuse in the womb without reprisal. Nor can they expect Catholics to sit back and watch while Catholic doctors and nurses are punished for failing to cooperate in evil.

More than any group in America, Catholic bishops have been at the forefront of the movement for universal health care. But they never signed on to a health care reform package that made them violate their professed beliefs. Nor will they.

President Obama has said he will not support a bill that provides funding for abortion or denies conscience rights for health care employees. If he is honest, then he should issue a public statement condemning what happened today. If he makes no attempt to change the outcome, then the only logical conclusion for Catholics to draw is that they have been lied to. One thing we know for sure: If all along Obama had shown a fraction of the interest on this issue that he is currently showing about winning over the Olympic Committee in bringing the games to Chicago, the Hatch amendment would have passed today.

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