The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday reiterated its support for the addition of more stringent abortion language into the Senate's healthcare bill.
The USCCB announced it penned a letter to senators over the weekend asking them once again to insert abortion language similar to Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb.) amendment that was tabled last week.
“Health care reform is too urgently needed to be placed at risk by one lobbying group’s insistence on changing the law," wrote Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo. "Before the Senate considers final votes on its health care reform legislation, please incorporate into this bill the longstanding and widely supported policies of current law."
Nelson and Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), the Democratic senators most concerned with the bill's existing abortion language, has been meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to craft an abortion compromise. The two senators want to ensure federal funds do not pay for abortions under the bill.
Nelson has continued to express reservations about voting for a final bill without stricter abortion language. The Nebraska senator's amendment mirrored Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) amendment that passed the House in November.
The Catholic bishops also wrote senators last week ahead of the Senate's vote on the Nelson's abortion amendment.
Pro-abortion rights lawmakers oppose the addition of new language, which they say would partially restrict private funds from paying for the procedures.