I’m evidently not the only Catholic who is willing to do the moral math and judge health care reform worth the difficulty surrounding abortion funding. (See my first "fake Catholic" post here.) On Christmas Day The New York Times reported that both the Catholic Health Association, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, whose member congregations built the bulk of the Catholic health care system in this country, came out in support of the Senate’s approach to the segregation of public funds from those premiums used to fund abortion coverage.
CHA president Sister Carol Keehan, however, said there was no divergence between the CHA's position and the USCCB's, saying the CHA remained committed to a health care system that protects life "from conception to natural death," according to a Catholic News Service story.
Still, you don’t have to limit yourself to what is finally the clumsiest of moral arguments and say that abortion alone is the make-or-break issue for Catholics when it comes to health care reform. Catholic teaching has long recognized access to health care as a human (not merely civil) right. (And you’ll note that the loud voices on abortion have said next to nothing about the fact that more than 10 million undocumented immigrants are explicitly excluded from this measure, which should outrage any Catholic.) Not all Catholics are willing to make the perfect the enemy of the good when health care for a further 31 million of our fellow citizens is at stake.