Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: The Health Reform Bill is Abortion-Neutral. Let’s Pass It.


In a remarkable piece at Newsweek.com, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writes that it is in the national interest "to pass meaningful health-care
reform and not litigate abortion in the process. Too much is at stake
to let differences over abortion derail real health reform."

Townsend recalls the words of her uncle, John F. Kennedy:

Nearly 50 years ago, President Kennedy delivered his famous
"Catholic" speech in which he stated, "Whatever issue may come before
me as president—on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling, or any
other subject—I will make my decision in accordance with these views,
in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national
interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates.
And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide
otherwise."

"These
words," se writes, "still ring true today, and nowhere more so than in the current
health-care debate. In recent months, much has been made over the
question of the Roman Catholic faith, health care reform, and abortion."

The
Roman Catholic Church and American Catholics have long believed that
health care is a basic human right. The church has been a leader in the
struggle to achieve quality, affordable coverage for all. They know
that if the United States is ever going to climb out of its dismal
standing as 30th in infant mortality in the world, women will need
access to better prenatal care so that they can give birth to healthier
babies. Yet as lofty ideas turn into actual policy details, the
perennial question of how to deal with the issues of women’s
health—specifically abortion and federal funding—has come up. In
solving this issue, perhaps we should heed the words of my uncle: what
is in the national interest.

The
good news is that thoughtful minds have come together in the House of
Representatives to craft a reasonable and abortion-neutral proposal in
health reform. It is neither pro-choice nor anti-choice. It is simply
pro–health care.

Read the rest of this opinion piece at Newsweek.com.

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