By Kathleen Gilbert

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, April 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island has denounced the Catholic Health Association for supporting the abortion-laden federal health care reform law, and has asked that a local hospital be removed from membership in the group, reported ETWN Friday.

CHA, a for-profit trade association personally wooed by President Obama to support his health care overhaul, garnered heavy criticism from U.S. bishops for supporting the massive bill despite its lack of a ban on federal abortion funding – effectively making it the most pro-abortion piece of legislation since Roe v. Wade.

The CHA, which stands to profit from health care reform, in July 2009 had already pledged a large sum of money to the Obama administration to help ease passage of the overhaul, well before the final draft of the bill materialized.

Tobin told CHA director Sr. Carol Keehan in a March 29 letter that he was “very disappointed that the Catholic Health Association, under your leadership, publicly endorsed the recent health care legislation that was passed and signed into law.”

“This action was taken despite the fact that the legislation will very possibly provide additional public funding for abortion and threaten the freedom of conscience of Catholic individuals and institutions,” wrote the outspokenly pro-life bishop.

Tobin called out the group for paving the way to immense confusion among Catholics concerning the bill: “Your enthusiastic support of the legislation, in contradiction to the position of the Bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and cause serious scandal for many members of the Church," he said.

Therefore, he said, “I am writing to request that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association.”

The bishop also requested "that our name be removed" as “even the association with CHA is now embarrassing.”

In conclusion, Tobin expressed hope that CHA "will review its mission and will find new opportunities to renew its commitment to human life, including that of unborn children."

"I also hope that the Association will clearly support the teaching mission of the Church as expressed by the Bishops, whose obligation it is to preach the Gospel of Christ and apply the teachings of the Church to the important moral issues of our time," he added.

Bishop Tobin had also entered into the health care debate in November, when he demanded that Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy apologize for accusing the U.S. bishops of not being "pro-life" and of "fanning the flames of dissent and discord" for refusing to support the legislation. Tobin called the pro-abortion Catholic congressman "a disappointment to the Catholic Church and the citizens of Rhode Island."