Monday January 25, 2010

Starting over on Health Bill would be Pro-Life Victory: Knoxville Bishop

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2010 ( – At the Vigil Mass for Life, held last Thursday at the National Basilica in D.C., Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tenn. weighed in on the health care debate. The bishop criticized the idea that opposing the current health care bill amounts to being “against health care for everyone,” and said it would be a victory for pro-lifers if the bill were brought back to the drawing board. (LSN) asked the bishop what he thought about the severe blow dealt by the Massachusetts special election to the health bill’s progress. “It’s probably going to be a good thing,” he said.

The forecast for the Democrats’ health care reform suddenly grew dark just two nights before the vigil Mass, when Republican Scott Brown – who ran on a starkly anti-health bill platform – snatched Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Massachusetts’ special election. This unexpected turn of events robbed Senate Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority and fired a warning shot to Democrats worried that their support for the unpopular bill could spell their own political demise in November

“It’s been an interesting experience to watch [the health care debate] evolve. Many people have presented it: ‘If you’re against certain components, then you’re against health care for everyone,'” said Stika. “So many people have not even read the bill, and as you take it apart you see that it goes way beyond health care – with the abortion, with the conscience clause – a whole variety of different issues that were hidden in the 1000-plus pages that now have come to light.

“With what happened in Massachusetts, maybe they’ll go back to the drawing board, and adopt certain values to protect life,” he added.

Stika said he expected that, “realistically, [health care reform] is going to go back to the drawing board.” Once it does, pro-lifers will again have to make sure their voices are heard, he said.

LSN asked, “Do you think that’s a victory for us?”

“Yeah, it’s a victory,” Stika replied. “I’m always hesitant because of all the different issues; but it’s a good thing.”