in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pa Catholic Conf will help you tell Sen Greenleaf, McIlhinney, Mensch, & Tomlinson and Gov Corbett: "Please represent me by passing HB 818 without amendment!"

Completing basic info on a special Pennsylvania Catholic Conference web page ( will send the following message to your state senator and Governor Corbett:
    "Please pass House Bill 818, which would prohibit insurance providers that participate in the insurance exchanges created by the federal health care reform law from covering elective abortion services.

    "Currently no tax dollars are used for elective abortions anywhere in Pennsylvania. HB 818 guarantees that the taxpayer supported plans in the federal government's new health insurance exchange are in line with this long-standing policy.

    "HB 818 passed the House on April 23. It is now the Senate's turn to take up this important legislation.

    "Please represent me by passing HB 818 without amendment!"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

As per the below message from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, HB 818 passed in the Pennsylvania House by a vote of 144 to 53.  Special thanks are certainly owed to Bucks Representatives Paul Clymer (, Gene DiGirolamo (, Frank Farry (, John Galloway (, Bernie O'Neill (, Scott Petri (, Marguerite Quinn (, and Kathy Watson (

Bucks Representatives Tina Davis ( and Steve Santarsiero (, voted AGAINST HB 818.

Bucks Senators Greenleaf (, McIlhinney (, Mensch (, and Tomlinson ( are now expected to have an opportunity to vote on HB 818 in the Senate.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Pa Catholic Conference and HB 818/SB3

As per a 4/15/13 posting by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, "House Bill 818, the bill that would ensure taxpayers do not fund abortions through the federal health care exchange administered in PA, was voted out of the House Health Committee today by a vote of 15 to 9."  According to the Pa Catholic Conference, members of the House Health Committee voting "YES" included Representative Frank Farry.  Though Scott Petri was reported to be one of the committee members voting "NO," it appears that he did not actually cast a vote.  The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference goes on to say that  "HB 818 now proceeds to the full House for a vote. An identical piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3, was voted out of committee in the Senate last week.  Send a message to your legislators TODAY asking them to vote “yes” on HB 818 and SB 3!" []

Please note that there are also direct email addresses for representatives from Bucks County:
Passage of HB 818/SB3 must be followed with a reconciled bill signed by Governor Corbett.  We would be naive not to recall what transpired (or did not transpire!) in the last legislative session with SB 3 and HB 1977, which were also to prevent funding of at least some "Obamacare" abortions. Though SB 3 passed on 6/7/11 and HB 1977 passed on 12/12/11, they were NEVER reconciled and sent for Governor Corbett's signature. Perhaps the most revealing comments on what transpired came from the ACLU!
  • "the bill to mandate an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion, hit a wall when it was voted out of committee, and the resulting controversy may have crippled the chances of the bills to block insurance coverage of abortion in the exchange created by healthcare reform, HB 1977 and SB 3" (6/4/12 ACLU memo to its board of directors).
Whether it was cowardice or disingenuousness on the parts of elected officials, we certainly don't want a repeat of history!  Send our elected officials an email or give them a call (!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Action needed on Pa Catholic Conf-backe HB 818

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has been facilitating contact with our elected officials in Harrisburg, regarding HB 818/SB3:  "As the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act and Pennsylvania has chosen not to set up a state exchange, Pennsylvania must take steps to prevent abortion coverage in the federal insurance exchanges used in PA. Please send a message to your legislators requesting that this important pro-life issue be addressed as soon as possible!" (Vote "Yes" on Abortion Opt-Out Legislation;

The Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation tells us that "The PA House Health Committee is scheduled to vote Monday, April 15, on House Bill 818....Once the bill is reported out of committee, it can then go to the full PA House for a vote.  Please call your state Representative Monday with this urgent message: 'I don't want public funds to pay for abortion in Pennsylvania. Please support House Bill 818, with no amendments.'"

Please note that there are also direct email addresses for the representatives from Bucks County:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Catholic Brothers, Priests, & Sisters in Pa, Who Need to Get Up to Speed on Conscience Protection

Your Excellencies:

Though "abortion opt out" legislation passed both Pennsylvania's Senate and House in 2011, a bill was never reconciled and signed by Governor Corbett. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is to be applauded for its current effort to expedite HB 818/SB3, facilitating emails to our legislators:

A 4/5/13 Catholic News Service brief caught my eye:
  • "In Pennsylvania, 1,300 sisters, brothers and priests petitioned Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who is Catholic, to reverse his decision not to expand Medicaid. 'What we believe, not only as Catholics but as women religious, we need to look out for those who are most marginalized,' said Sister Donna Korba, director of the Office and Justice and Peace for her order, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scranton, Pa. 'With something like health care, it seems almost logical that the federal government is offering an opportunity for those who are uninsured to become insured,' a board member of Network, the Catholic social justice lobby, told Catholic News Service in explaining why she and Sister Mary Beth Hamm, who is a Sister of St. Joseph, and Mercy Sister Diane Guerin, both of Philadelphia, organized the petition drive."

To gather 1300 signatures from brothers, priests, and sisters in Pennsylvania seems like an impressive accomplishment. I took the opportunity to review the actual letter to Governor Corbett, which appears on the web site of "Network" (which describes itself as "A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby"). I also reviewed Network's accompanying Healthcare material, which claims:
Since Network's assessment of the Affordable Care Act as "pro life" is clearly out of step with the USCCB, I was intrigued to read Network's "steps we still need to take to improve our U.S. healthcare system." While it may not be surprising, it still strikes me as scandalous that there is nothing in these "steps" or in Network's "Medicaid Expansion Toolkit" to protest assaults on conscience by draconian efforts to dictate the funding of abortifacients/contraceptives and sterilizations.

Faithful Catholic lay people engaged in health care apostolates - indeed all people of good will - need Catholic clergy and religious to be in their corners, fighting for conscience protections.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Updates from the Pa Catholic Conference on Life and Marriage/Family

  • Quoting Deirdre McQuade of the USCCB regarding emergency (so-called) contraceptives, "The court has acted irresponsibly by making this powerful drug available without a prescription to minor children. Plan B does not prevent or treat any disease, but makes young adolescent girls more available to sexual predators. The court’s action undermines parents’ ability to protect their daughters from such exploitation and from the adverse effects of the drug itself" (Ruling that Lifts Age Limits on Emergency Contraceptives Should Be Overturned).
  • In Harrisburg, we need our representatives, senators, and governor to act according to the pro life principles they claim, stop dragging their feet, and expedite HB 818/SB3.  "As the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act and Pennsylvania has chosen not to set up a state exchange, Pennsylvania must take steps to prevent abortion coverage in the federal insurance exchanges used in PA. Please send a message to your legislators requesting that this important pro-life issue be addressed as soon as possible!" (Vote "Yes" on Abortion Opt-Out Legislation;
  • In response to Senator Casey's diavowing the sanctity of marriage, Bishop Bambera of Scranton released this statement, "On April 1, 2013, Pennsylvania’s senior United States Senator, Robert Casey issued a statement supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples and asserting his belief that the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed.  In so doing, Senator Casey has unfortunately and disappointingly set aside the Catholic belief and teaching that the sacrament of marriage, rooted in the natural law, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong, loving union of a man and a woman open to the transmission of human life....Senator Casey’s position is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church" (The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton – Response to Senator Casey’s Statement Regarding Marriage Equality).

The 10 Commandments

The Beatitudes (from "Jesus of Nazareth")

Our representation in D.C....

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