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Letters and Op-Eds - 2009

new york times

Abortion and Health Care Legislation: Letter to the Editor

Jon O'Brien

November 13, 2009

To the Editor:

Re “A Victory in Health Care Vote for Opponents of Abortion” (front page, Nov. 9):

It is worrying that so many members of Congress succumbed to lobbying by the United States Conference of Catholics Bishops, no matter how “forceful.” Health care reform will affect all Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The bishops’ views on abortion are not those of all Catholics, let alone all Americans. In fact, a small minority of Catholics, fewer than 15 percent, are in line with the bishops in believing that all abortion should be banned. The rest can see circumstances in which legal abortion is an acceptable, even essential, aspect of health care.

The views of American Catholics, who make up about one-quarter of the American population, are remarkably similar to the views of the American population at large on this and many other reproductive health issues.

If Congress is willing to acquiesce so meekly to the Catholic bishops on abortion, we might soon see coverage for contraception and in vitro fertilization banned, as the bishops also have those legal reproductive health care services in their sights.

Jon O’Brien
President, Catholics for Choice
Washington, Nov. 9, 2009

This letter originally appeared in the New York Times.