The North Dakota Senate voted 33 to 14 to approve a plan to extend health care coverage to low income persons who would be left without coverage following implementation of the federal health care reform law.
The legislation, HB 1362, was previously approved by the House and now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Vatican Radio has interviewed Bishop David Kagan on the enactment of the abortion and pro-women’s health bills.
Listen to the interview here: http://media01.radiovaticana.va/audiomp3/00364608.MP3
Read the accompanying story on Vatican News here: http://www.news.va/en/news/north-dakota-bishop-new-laws-move-pro-life-cause-f
Governor Dalrymple has signed all the pro-life bills sent to his desk. Bishop David D. Kagan has issued the following statement:
The protection of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death is the primary purpose of government. All persons, including our elected officials, are obligated to unceasingly seek protection of this basic human right. I applaud the members of the North Dakota legislature who bravely supported measures to extend protections to unborn human life and to advance the health of women.
I also applaud Governor Jack Dalrymple for signing SB 2305, HB 1305, and HB 1456. His signature affirms our state’s commitment to the protection of all human life.
Finally, I ask that all Catholics of the state join me this Holy Week in praying for our all of our elected leaders. May the Author of Life grant them wisdom in all their endeavors.
Senate Bill 2305 will protect women having abortions by requiring that abortion physicians have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
House Bill 1305 prohibits abortions for sex selection or genetic abnormality.
House Bill 1456 prohibits abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
The North Dakota House today passed three pro-life measures.
SB 2305 requires abortion physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This pro-woman’s health bill passed 58-34. It now goes to the governor.
SB 2368 bans abortions after twenty weeks gestation and prevents tax dollars from going to abortion businesses. It passed 60-32. The bill will now return to the Senate for its review.
SCR 4009 would place a right to life in the state constitution. It goes to the voters June 2014.
The House defeated SB 2303, to protect human embryos by a vote of 43-49.
On March 4, 2013, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and 50 other House members introduced H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013. Archbishop William E Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, welcomed its introduction with the following statement:
“I am grateful to Congresswoman Black and other sponsors for their leadership today. I welcome the Health Care Conscience Rights Act and call for its swift passage into law. While federal laws are on the books protecting conscience rights in health care, this Act would make such protection truly effective. This overdue measure is especially needed in light of new challenges to conscience rights arising from the federal health care reform act.”
In a February 15 letter, Archbishop Lori urged Congress to enact effective conscience and religious freedom protection provisions like those of H.R. 940 as part of “must-pass” legislation for continued funding of federal programs.
A Capitol Hill press conference featuring four plaintiffs advocating for their conscience rights and religious freedom will take place at 10 am (EST) Tuesday morning, March 5, 2013 in Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-318.
The text of Archbishop Lori’s letter is available at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Letter-from-Archbishop-Lori-to-Congress.pdf
The North Dakota Catholic Conference has joined over twenty other organizations in a joint letter expressing support for expanding Medicaid coverage in North Dakota.
As the letter states: “If North Dakota fails to exercise the Medicaid expansion option as it currently exists, thousands of residents will not have access to affordable coverage and the state will, in fact, be creating a coverage gap for the poorest individuals and families under 100% of poverty who will have no access to health care subsidies.”
The House will soon consider HB 1362, which would extend Medicaid coverage as proposed by Governor Dalrymple. Contact your House representatives and ask them to support HB 1362.
WASHINGTON—Congress should incorporate two provisions that strengthen conscience protection in any proposed funding bills in the weeks ahead, said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore in a February 15 letter to Congress. Both provisions were part of the House draft of the Labor/HHS appropriations bill.
Archbishop Lori, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote that he feared “the federal government’s respect for believers and people of conscience no longer measures up to the treatment Americans have a right to expect from their elected representatives. The new approach even threatens to undermine access to quality health care, by telling providers as well as those who offer or purchase insurance that they need to drop their participation in the health care system if they want to preserve their religious and moral integrity. A restoration of full respect for one of our nation’s founding values is urgently needed.”
The first provision supported by USCCB would extend longstanding federal policy on conscience to the new mandates for private health plans created by the Affordable Care Act. The other clarifies nondiscrimination laws to improve protection of individuals and institutions that decline involvement in abortion, allowing them to seek vindication in court.
Archbishop Lori wrote that they perceive “a new, more grudging attitude in recent years toward citizens whose faith or moral principles are not in accord with the views of the current governing power. And while the mandate for coverage of abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization is hailed by some as a victory for women’s freedom, it permits no free choice by a female employee to decline such coverage for herself or her minor children, even if it violates her moral and religious convictions.”
Archbishop Lori said it was discouraging to find this coercive element in the latest proposed rulemaking by the Obama administration in response to widespread criticism of its original mandate. He reiterated the hope of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of USCCB, who said that while the new proposal falls short of meeting the bishops’ concerns, the bishops remain committed to engaging with the administration and all branches of government to address the issue.
Full text of the letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Letter-from-Archbishop-Lori-to-Congress.pdf
“It’s not just the fact that expanding Medicaid would bring more federal dollars into North Dakota to deliver a useful service.
“It’s also the fact that refusing to expand Medicaid will cost North Dakota, maybe enough to force some hospitals and clinics to close.”