Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York told an NBC interviewer on December 1 that while Catholics had sought to support President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, they ultimately had to step away because is “excluding the unborn.” Speaking to interviewer David Gregory, Cardinal Dolan said that the Affordable Care Act put Catholic laity and clergy into a “tough place because we’re for universal comprehensive life-affirming health care.”
The affable Dolan said “We’ve been asking for reform in health care for a long time, so we were kind of an early supporter in this,” while he added “Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh oh, this isn’t comprehensive because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and its excluding the unborn baby.’ So, we began to bristle at that.”
“And then secondly, we said, ‘And wait a minute, we Catholics who are among the pros when it comes to providing health care, do it because of our religious conviction and because the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those,’” said Dolan. “So that’s where we begin to draw back and say, Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders.”
“And that, sadly, is what happened.”
So-called Obamacare mandates that all insurance plans include maternity coverage for the unborn, even while coverage for abortion and abortifacents (with exceptions) is also mandated. Some states have banned abortion coverage. Lawsuits are ongoing to determine whether private companies must provide medical insurance to their employees for abortion and artificial contraception. Catholic bishops in the U.S. first advocated universal healthcare in 1919.
Dolan also spoke to the issue of same-sex unions, saying "We've been outmarketed," while adding "We've been caricatured as being anti-gay. When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion molders that are behind it, it's a tough battle."
As to the future of debate on same-sex marriage, Dolan recalled that after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, many people thought that debate would soon come to an end. He said, "To this day it remains probably the most divisive issue in American politics."
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