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WASHINGTON-The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomed the approval in committee of the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358). Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and 123 co-sponsors, the Protect Life Act would apply longstanding federal policies on abortion funding, and conscience rights on abortion, to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed last March. On February 15, the full House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 358 in a bi-partisan vote (33 to 19), and rejected three amendments that would have weakened the bill.
"The committee's action is an important step toward authentic health care reform that respects the dignity of all, from conception onward," Deirdre McQuade, USCCB pro-life spokeswoman, said.
As Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in his January 20 letter to Congress (www.usccb.org/healthcare/cardinal-dinardo-HR358-ltr.pdf), the Protect Life Act "will bring PPACA into line with policies on abortion and conscience rights that have long prevailed in other federal health programs."
"I now urge all Representatives to support the Protect Life Act and oppose all weakening amendments when it comes before them," McQuade said.