House committee’s vote on Protect Life Act draws USCCB praise

The U.S. bishops’ pro-life spokeswoman praised a House committee Feb. 17 for its recent bipartisan vote in favor of a bill that would apply long-standing federal policies on abortion funding and conscience rights to the health reform law.

Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said the 33-19 vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Feb. 15 to send the Protect Life Act to the full House “is an important step toward authentic health care reform that respects the dignity of all.”

She also thanked the committee for rejecting three amendments that would have weakened the bill.

“I now urge all representatives to support the Protect Life Act and oppose all weakening amendments when it comes before them,” McQuade said in a Catholic News Service report.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in a Jan. 20 letter to Congress that the Protect Life Act — co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. — was needed to bring the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “into line with policies on abortion and conscience rights that have long prevailed in other federal health programs.”


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