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August 17, 2009


As calls for protection against abortion in President Obama’s health care legislation fall on deaf ears, Planned Parenthood (PP) has made no secret of its continued communications with the White House on its interest in ensuring that “reproductive health” plays a central role in the final version of the legislation.

“Just left the White House meeting on women’s health care – they appreciate all the mighty PP supporters speaking up for reform in the states!” wrote Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards on her Facebook and Twitter accounts Wednesday afternoon.

. . .

As Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has pointed out, Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, stands to gain substantially if the legislation includes them as an “essential community provider.” Insurance providers, in order to be certified, would be required to contract with Planned Parenthood under that designation.

During a meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last month, when pro-life Senator Orrin Hatch expressed concern that Planned Parenthood would be included in the bill, Sen. Barbara Mikulski admitted that Planned Parenthood was slated for “essential community provider” status.


“From a religious freedom standpoint, you don’t have religious freedom,” he said. Thierfelder stressed, however, that the college has “gotten a lot of support from people who are not Catholic, and who may not share our beliefs on abortion, sterilization, contraception…they see the principle and what they’re saying is, ‘Belmont Abbey College is not trying to tell anybody what they have to do, it’s just saying what Belmont Abbey College will do.’ And I think that’s an important distinction.”

“To try to make us change [our beliefs], there’s something very wrong with that,” he continued. “And I think that’s why this has garnered so much attention, and especially with the health care debates that are going on right now, and with all the things that are going on with Catholic hospitals … what they are basically saying is, if you’re Catholic, or if you are of any faith, it doesn’t mean anything. You’re going to do what the government tells you to do.”

Thierfelder acknowledged that the fight could go to the courts, and emphasized that BAC officials were united in maintaining fidelity to Catholic Church teaching against pressure from the government.

All of us need to have moral courage in today’s world,” he said. “We are so resolute in our commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church that there is no possible way we would ever deviate from it, and if it came down to it … we would close the school rather than give in.

“So it is absolute, unequivocal, impossible for us to go against the teachings of the Catholic Church in any way. There is no form of compromise that is possible.”

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