By Kathleen Gilbert

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, January 13, 2010 ( – The Knights of Columbus (KofC) are stepping up to support the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops's campaign against the abortion-expanding Senate health care bill. The KofC has issued its own call to strike down any health care plan that introduces government funding of elective abortion.

“Knights and their families are strongly urged to contact their Senators and Congressmen during the recess, and ask that they support the House language authored by Representative (and brother Knight) Bart Stupak (D-MI), which retains the long-standing policy against federal funding of abortion,” say the Knights in a statement issued January 5. 

A final version of the health care bill is currently being hashed out by Democrat leaders in closed-door negotiations.  Because the legislation is being rushed through in a “ping-pong” process dominated by the more liberal Senate bill, the Hyde-amendment restrictions introduced to the House bill are considered likely to be thrown out.

The House returned to the Capitol on January 12, while the Senate remains on recess until the 19th.

The Knights encouraged contacting Senators and Representatives at their home district offices during the recess as “an especially effective way of making them aware of your views on the abortion funding and conscience protection issues.”

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an updated bulletin insert for parishes nationwide urging Catholics to lobby against the health care bill “unless and until” the abortion and conscience-protection issues were corrected. 

In a December Zenit article, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson criticized the Catholic members of U.S. Congress who have been pushing to pass a bill that threatens both to vastly expand abortion and neglect the conscience rights of health care workers objecting to abortion.

“By working and voting to include abortion coverage in health care legislation, several Catholic politicians stand at the precipice of being the deciding votes in forcing a particular immoral view on their fellow Catholics, by forcing them to fund abortion through their tax dollars,” wrote Anderson. 

“While professing that they cannot impose their conscience on anyone else, these politicians seem to have little hesitation about imposing a political view—one they claim to oppose in principle—on the consciences of their fellow Catholics.”