In a statement issued today, the Rev. Carlton Veazey, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, called on abortion foes to be satisfied with the “status quo” on abortion that is maintained by proposed health care reform bills and to stop holding up reform over the issue. The RCRC had advocated for full coverage of reproductive health services, including abortion, but now says passing reform with an abortion compromise is paramount.
From Veazey’s statement:
Today, with the introduction of health care reform legislation in the House of Representatives, the long-awaited time has come when decent, affordable health care will be accessible to more Americans. While it is deeply troubling that coverage for abortion services remains unsettled, pro-choice clergy recognize the need to reform our broken health care system and agree that we must move forward. We can best do so by retaining the status quo on abortion coverage, which allows federal dollars to be spent for abortion only in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of a woman. Although this policy is far from fair, this historic moment is not the time to renegotiate national policy on abortion.
Yet there are those who are putting anti-abortion politics before health care. They threaten to block reform unless access to abortion is further restricted. They say they want health care for all – yet they perpetuate fear and divisiveness, which will undermine health care reform.
To them we say: Our shared American values and vision of justice must be paramount.
At worship services this weekend, pro-choice clergy associated with the Religious Coalitionfor Reproductive Choice will voice their strong moral support for health care reform that retains the status quo on abortion coverage. As pro-choice clergy, our first concern is for the millions without health care and those who have been unjustly excluded because of pre-existing conditions. It would be morally indefensible to place abortion politics over the simple justice of providing for basic human needs.