By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2010 ( – Asked by (LSN) this past week to sound off on President Obama's health care overhaul, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut singled out the bill's anti-life policies and massive government expansion for criticism.

“The turn of events that has made it necessary for the congressional leadership to go back to the drawing board is a good thing,” Lori told LSN at the Vigil Mass for Life Thursday evening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The surprise victory of Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts Tuesday night, robbing Senate Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority, has left the health care overhaul's supporters scrambling to find a way to keep it alive.  In addition to containing several provisions that are of concern for pro-lifers – such as possibly encouraging health care rationing and physician-assisted suicide in some states – the bill would unleash federal funding of abortion.

“One of the things to remember is that two polls – a Gallup poll and a Pew Poll – have shown that the majority of Americans are pro-life, and the vast majority want some restrictions on abortion,” the bishop continued. 

“If health care should be passed in any form that uses government money to fund abortions, they are certainly going against the will of the American people.”

While the U.S. bishops “certainly favor helping those who are poor and uninsured, and maybe cannot get insurance,” he said, “we certainly are resolutely opposed to using government money to take innocent human life.”

LSN asked Lori to elaborate on his position regarding the health care bill aside from the federal abortion funding issue.

“The bishops have long supported some form of access – that's the key word, access – to health care,” said Lori.  “That doesn't mean we favor the government taking over one sixth of our economy – but it does mean that intelligent ways should be found to help those who need the help to get health insurance and adequate medical care.”

Lori said that any health care reform ought to avoid a centralization of power and respect what is known as the principle of subsidiarity, which states that matters should be handled by the lowest level of competent government possible – a principle upheld in several papal encyclicals.

“It's long been one of our positions that we've advocated for the issue is really how do you do it in a way that respects life, and in a way that respects the principle of subsidiarity,” the bishop concluded. 


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